“Slap the rider, pat the horse?”

Ever say things like:

This dumb horse won’t listen to me!

He’s so lazy today. He won’t go no matter what I do!

She’s just a brat. Mares are like that, you know.

I’ll let you in on a generally know secret: it’s not the horse’s fault, they just respond to stimuli. Action = response.

So “slap the rider” (for causing the problem, or blaming the horse), “pat the horse” (for putting up with it all) is not completely unreasonable, though a little harsh sounding.

On the other hand…

does anyone HAVE to be slapped?

Most of us are trying just as hard as we can to ride better.

There we are, sweating, gasping, straining to make it work, knowing all too well our many failures. Maybe we are watching videos at night, reading books or articles, thinking in the middle of the night about what went well, what didn’t, and how we could do it differently.

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Yep, pulling on the inside rein. Sigh. Horse could be a bit more engaged, too, but let’s try to be positive, too. Poll is the highest point (hooray!). Other than pulling, my position is ok. No wait, my left hip is a bit collapsed. Sigh.

Unless we are blaming the horse for our own shortcomings, of course. Then slap away, I suppose.

Riding is such a picky sport. Let’s try harder to encourage one another, to find places where there is improvement, even if it’s small. Oh look, a little better! Bravo! You got it today! That one was good, hooray! Some enthusiasm makes us all feel better. 

Pat the rider AND the horse. Please. Maybe we both need a cookie, too.

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 I am tilted and collapsed left but the mare has a sweet expression here that I like. Engagement behind is pretty good for her level at the time. So…flawed but with some nice elements.

We’re all doing the best we can with what we have.  Kiss your horse on the velvety nose, too. Who could resist a nose like this one?

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I love this kind and sweet Andalusian mare, Starlight. Last winter, coming in from turnout.