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  • Sinéad Christie

Trying something new

So I have started the process towards riding bridleless. Ensuring voice control works and having a headcollar on for back up.

You know the hardest thing?


Just like when you go to your first show.

But I also felt pressure. Why? Because I needed to get it right, I needed to be able to be clear. Know when to use my aids and when to release the pressure. Ensure that Enzo knew that every step in the right direction was good! He was trying, that was all I could ask for and he needs to know that.

Timing is everything when you start the training. There is no option but to have confidence and knowledge. If it's not there then we would need to get help.

So I took a deep breath. We had been working to this moment, we were finally there. And I had to remain calm. I am a very excitable person with of lot of 'LETS GO' energy. In this moment that was not who I could be. I had to remain calm, breathe and stop when we got to a good part. Not let my "LETS GO" energy mean I push things as things are going so well. It's so easy to get carried away. But for Enzo I had to read him, reward him and not make it too challenging too quickly. He is learning, just because he picks it up well does not mean he would know it enough to go further in one session.

If you stop at the good part, tomorrow starts better.

That is what I have to remember and I think we did this successfully.

The ride lasted 5 minutes, that was it. All I needed to get things started!

He was great on the right rein, so we swapped reins and he asked to go back onto the right rein. This led to a short discussion of him asking, me saying we need to go left and after three little discussions he did not ask again.

As a reward I swapped back to the right rein, stopped and left the session there.

Why did I swap back? Surely if he wanted to go right, for me to then allow him onto that rein will teach him that he can go where he wants to?

These are normal questions but for me: I didn't let him go when he wanted, I chose it once he was listening.

He was obviously just telling me the left rein is a bit harder for him. So I am not going to make him do lots on the left just enough to get to the point of rewarding him. Then say ok, that's enough pushing you on this rein. Well done.

If I had kept going on the left rein, or stopped there then we would have ended on a slight 'bad' note. I like to end things where both find it a bit easier and therefore should leave the session on a more positive note.

If we were further down the line, my reward may be to swap back onto the right rein then once we have progressed on that rein go back to the left. So we: Ask, discuss, achieve, reward, break.

The break on my first session being stopping the session, but further down the line working on the right rein then returning will be a break. As once we start going further we can start asking a couple more questions. I just have to remember not to rush that otherwise discussions turn into fights, and there is no point fighting.

A photo from our session is below, but to check out the end part of a 5 minute ride then head to my instagram!

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