Saturday, February 7, 2009

Self Carriage

In working toward self carriage, the rider must remember to give the rein often, allowing the horse to carry herself for a few or several steps. The rider can take the rein firmly, even very firmly, but then must give with an allowing hand; never "hang" on the rein, particularly the inside rein. This giving of the rein not only works toward self carriage in the horse, it also has a calming effect on Delphi in that there is no resistance in the bridle for her to "fight" or fidget against, thus allowing her to be lighter in the hand, freer in the neck and shoulder, and working toward sitting in the hindquarter.
Yesterday, a very windy day, we were taking our lesson at the same time Teri was schooling a young jumper over fences and in the flying changes. Every time the youngster would get a bit fractious and a gust of wind would blow up her tail, Delphi felt the need to bolt. By riding with the hands raised to give the rein and sitting tall and upright (think "sit back") in the saddle, I was in an excellent position to control the forward momentum caused by the spook and bring Delphi immediately back to the exercise.