Make your horseback ride Enjoyable, Profitable and Meaningful.
Ride with Purpose.
The ride begins when you approach your horse. As you walk through the gate into your horse’s pen, set the stage; Establish your authority yet give your horse confidence that you are his friend. Walk toward him watching his body, your eyes and body position contain him. Don’t directly look him in the eye because that can feel like a challenge and trigger his flight impulse.
After he is haltered, lead him with his nose at your shoulder. This establishes a partnership... you are the leader but want to be close to him.
At the trailer, grooming your horse continues the bond and has a two-fold purpose; You establish trust, and you feel every inch of your horse’s body. Knowing your horse is essential to a winning team. Your hands learn to sense anything unusual such as bumps, swelling, heat. If you detect a problem, sooner than later, life for both is easier.
Saddling continues your communication. Place the pad and saddle forward on the withers and let it move back into the sweet spot. Always walk him a few steps then recheck your cinch. Your horse appreciates your attention to his comfort and this is another step toward building a trust bond.
Bridling is the same thing, I have a training bit and a competition bit. Whichever I put on communicates my intentions for the ride.
Riding is a team effort; you and your horse becoming one. There are plenty of uncontrollable elements ahead in your ride, but if you and your horse are one, you will tackle the unknowns together, which is a confidence builder for you both.
When you mount, a subtle move you should get in a habit of doing is take one step back before you ask him to move ahead. It's a subtle thing, but firmly establishes your authority from the get go, saying listen to me, I'll tell you when and where. This translates later into a positive partnership, when you are going down the alley to the first barrel; crossing a stream on the trail; backing into the roping box; or running across the pasture.
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