Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Julie Goodnight Marathon & Training Horses On a Loose Rein
I tape all of the Julie Goodnight Horse Master shows. She makes working with horses seem so stress-free & logical.
Last night, I had an impromptu Horse Master Marathon, and what kept standing out to me was the loose rein. As Julie put it, and I'm paraphrasing from episode 921 above--"Working with horses can be counter-intuitive. We feel the horse growing anxious and our impulse is to pull harder to control them with the reins, but actually we might be surprised that if we threw them the rein instead, they probably wouldn't do much. Tightening the reins tells the horse to be anxious, loosening the reins tells them it's okay." Again, that's a big paraphrase, but I think it captures her advice. (Here's an article--same concept--to stop a horse from jigging).
With that in mind...
Today I ordered a set of yacht rope reins--they're similar, but different, to what Goodnight uses and I like the weight in them. Julie Goodnight's reins, however, don't use the metal clasp, which can annoy horses. She devised a better system. Her reins are highly recommended. Click here to see them. Right now I'm using split leather, but I feel like they don't have enough give and quick hand forgiveness. I used to use a yacht rope mecate with Leah, but I didn't like the system from the ground. The long end that functions as the lead rope, is only attached to one side, making it good from that side, but not the other. And, I don't feel comfortable tying her with it, if the need arose on the trail. Instead, I prefer to ride with a rope halter underneath the bridle & a lead rope separate. Now, I'll be using this yacht rope rein.
The other thing I like about this rein is that it allows me to massage her neck while riding and not have to worry about the reins slipping off. I already drop the reins and ride her hands free while massaging, but I have worried they'd slip.
Anyway, I'm going to be doing more hands free riding in the future. One of the episodes was all about things you can do with your horse to warm them up and some of it was hands free. Actually, much of what she showed I was already doing in some form or another--like riding above them in a modified 2-Point position to let them stretch out freely. I've been doing a lot of that with Leah at the trot.
I will be looking for things I can do to help her get collected and engage her hind end more--on a loose rein. As it is now, I'm using my body to influence hers. I sit back in the saddle and really push her, with my hips swinging as hers do. Any suggestions for loose rein collection work would be appreciated.
Tonight I'm taking her back to the scary arena. I'm going to let her run free in it and then I'm going to spend the whole evening working at her comfort level. If all goes well, I'll take her to the clinic on Saturday. I'm off tomorrow and Friday, so I'm going to get a couple of trail rides in, too. I'll pony her tomorrow and then--possibly ride her on the trails Friday.
While I was ordering the reins (ebay), I found a pair of my favorite boots for sale! I bought them about six years ago and wore them OUT. Let's just say, the barn was not kind to them. I've looked and looked for another pair like them, but they aren't made anymore by UGG. This set of the UGG Channing is "like new". Good enough! I'll take them!