This experiment will help you understand how subtle body movements in the saddle affect your horse. Why is this important? Most people want a harmonious relationship with their horse on the ground and in the saddle. Exercises like these help riders understand how everything they do in the saddle, even inadvertent movements, can influence their horse.
Time Required: Warm up: 15 minutes +- and 10 minutes or so for the experiment.
- Try this in the ring or arena. Warm up by riding some circles at the walk and trot. Try lots of transitions and changes of direction to make sure your horse is paying attention to you and not this buddies in the barn or the tuft of grass outside the ring. Use your usual leg and rein aids to make the turns and bends.
- Ask your horse to walk. Lengthen your reins so that you don't use rein aids and don't use your seat and leg aids.
- Now turn your head to look in the direction you want to go. Very likely your horse will start to drift towards the direction you are looking.
- Turn your head to go in the opposite direction. What happens. Likely, your horse will start drifing in that direction.
- If your horse is inclined to drift towards the gate or door use a slight correction with your leg and rein aids.
- Chances are, your horse won't make any dramatic changes of direction. But you as you turn your head, your horse will start to drift in the direction you are looking.
- You may get more obvious results if you ride bareback.
What You Need
- A ring or arena.
- Your horse, tacked up, saddle optional.