I’ve been without my spurs for two weeks now and I’m pretty darn pleased with the improvement. I have a much happier horse who has become even more of a joy to ride. The first few days were rough; there were times when I felt like I was learning to ride all over again. The lope transition was especially frustrating; it seems my previous cue involved the nailing my horse with my outside spur while popping her in the mouth with the inside rein. It’s a wonder that sweet mare doesn’t pile drive me into the ground. I can see now why she grunted and swished her tail going into the lope.
At my last lesson Sarah got on me about my inside rein. It was very busy; when I wasn’t hanging on it I was annoying my horse with it. I finally figured out how to use my leg where I thought I needed the inside rein. I am getting an idea of what it feels like to “bring the horse to the bit” as opposed to bringing the bit to the horse. I’ve also started fixing things at the walk. Grace tends to anticipate upward transitions by sucking back and lifting her head. I used to just push her through it up to the next gait, but now I take a soft square hold and push her up at the walk. We don’t jog until I have the quality walk with her back lifted and her shoulders up. The lope is getting there; I feel like I am being asked to chew gum, pat my belly, rub my head, and do algebra at the same time at the lope. Keeping my leg on is still counter intuitive but I am getting better. When I watch the video I see so many things that I could improve on, which is the point of filming my ride. Before I get too hard on myself I have to remember that I am doing this with no spurs and in a snaffle. I know one horse that is very happy about that.