Riding With Feel and Leaving My Head Behind

After all our training and our super win with 69%, I was feeling on top of the world. However, something was amiss. We had been doing really well but I was finding that duchess was becoming more and more disconnected with her hind and she was getting heavier in my hand every time I rode. I was trying really hard to keep her engaged but all it seemed to do was make her heavier and more pissed off with me. We were really starting to argue. I knew it was something that I was doing but I couldn’t figure out what it was. 

Hack snack, she’s never done this before! She stopped and grabbed the grass so quick I nearly went over her head.

As luck would have it my husband was off to Singapore with work for two weeks and typical, both my parents were unable to mind the Monster so I could ride. To make my life easier I asked Emma Kieran to ride her, first to help me out and second to see what was going on.

Emma found that she was hard work – thank god because I thought that was my imagination – but she also found that she is hard to get connected in the right rein and her hind did feel disconnected. However she didn’t get the heavy feeling in the hand, while Duchess did try to lean on the contact, Emma was more aware and didn’t let her do it. However, she had also spotted one issue that was unrelated to my riding, but also had everything to do with it too. I’m simply too busy, with too much on my plate. She was brave enough to tell me “sort out your own shit before you get on your horse.” I love her for this.

When I was at clinics training I had the whole day, I was in training mode. My work schedule was cleared, my husband had the Monster and I was free. Just me and the trainer, they were talking to me and I was listening to them and Duchess.

Lately however, I had so many things on my plate and I been working so hard, on top of mumming, that I was coming the yard in a hurry, frazzled and frantic. I was riding with distraction and stress, I just didn’t have time for her to be so hard. Also, and mums will really get this, I had nothing but pressure on me all day long. If it wasn’t The Monster swinging out of me, calling me, testing my patients, it was clients that needed tending too and jobs that needed to be completed.

While I was on Duchess my mind was on all of these things, I was so distracted I had lost the connection with what I was doing and how she was responding. As a result I had started to hold the contact firm. I had become static and hard with her. With all this ‘weight’ on me I had also begun to ride with my shoulders rolled forward, this was tipping me just a fraction out of the saddle, pushing her a little more on the fore hand and disconnecting my seat with her hind.

It’s hard trying to do so much at home and work etc. and the self employed will appreciate this so much. We don’t just leave our desks and our work stays there. it’s lingering in our heads repeating to us what we have to do, what’s next and what is still needs to be done.

Emma reminded me to breath, relax and listen to how Duchess was responding to me. This is totally unrelated to my riding, however it also has everything to do with it. If I am not totally present when I ride, then how can I catch the little things that are getting left behind. It’s mad, I knew what I needed to do, my riding knowledge is there, yet it had all been neglected while I was busy in my head. It just highlights the importance being 100% committed to listening to your horse while your riding. I followed this up with the first hack in the garden where I didn’t make any phone calls.

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