I have to admit that sometimes I don’t have such a great ride. I mean as everyone says I guess it just depends on the day, right? Sometimes I walk out into the field to get my horse, Sky, and sometimes she is just not happy to see me and then that makes me frustrated and then it just turns into a really bad day altogether. I’m sure you, at one time, have experienced that. It can get pretty discouraging!
So, I am going to give you 3 riding tips that I think help for a better ride and a better connection with your horse. I mean, I am not saying that you will never have a bad ride because everyone will have those odd days. But these tips will help make those bad rides better. Enjoy reading!
Tip #1 – Come to the barn with a good mood
Whenever you can, go to your barn with a good mood because, honestly, that will not only make your day so much better, but also your horse’s day. An interesting fact about horses, is that they actually “mirror” how we act. So, if you are frustrated, likely, your horse will be too. So, basically you can figure out how your horse is feeling by how you are feeling. If you try to come to the barn with a happy attitude, then it will make your time at the barn with your horse so much more enjoyable. A good mood = a better ride and a better connection with your horse.
Tip #2 – Spend time with your horse
When you go out to the barn, usually, everyone’s main focus is to ride, ride, ride. It is great for us, but is it always great to ride our horse every single time we go out? I think that it is really important for us to have a connection with our horse not only on their backs, but also on the ground as well. My horse, Sky, went through this stage where she just ran away from me every time I went out to catch her. I was so discouraged because all I wanted to do was ride her and get her to realize that she didn’t have to run away. I asked my trainer what I should do and he told me that next time you go out to not catch her. Not catch her? He was telling me, Keeley, to not catch her when all I wanted to do was ride her! But I had to try.
So, the next time I went out to the barn, I walked out into the field with treats in my pocket with no halter or lead rope. Slowly, but surely, she started to gain my trust and I felt that we were bonding. She is so much better now after I repeated that process a few times. It is so important to make sure your horses trusts you even before you start even thinking about the Olympics or the Grand Prix. Spending time with your horse helps your horse to have a good mood and to relax and enjoy you being with him/her.
Tip #3 – Massage
Massage is the best way to relax your horse before and after a ride. When your horse is relaxed, it not only makes you relaxed, but it helps your horse’s muscles. Here are a couple of different massage techniques to practice:
T-Touch – T-Touch is a great massage technique to making your horse more relaxed and calm. This is a great technique to use if you are in a situation where your horse is afraid or anxious, then T-Touch would be a simple technique to do. One example of a t-touch is when you take your first four fingers (including your thumb) and you massage your horse’s forehead in circular motions.
The second massage technique, I think, that really helps is a back massage for your horse before and after you ride. So, what you do, is place you’re hands separated on your horse’s back. One hand should be by the withers and the other hand should be by the croup area or lower back. When doing this massage, you should try to make your horse stand square so then it will be more effective. Pull your hands slowly apart and hold for about 3 seconds. Do this about 2 or 3 times and then switch to the other side of your horse. You will see that your horse will start to relax its back muscles.
I hope you have found these three tips very helpful! Please don’t be discouraged when your horse doesn’t listen to you. Trust me, I have been discouraged many times, but honestly that hasn’t helped myself or my horse. Let me know in the comments below your thoughts.