“An Exercise to Develop Feel”

There’s that word again … “feel.”

It can be so elusive. What does that mean? And most importantly, how can you develop it?

To me “riding with feel” means being so connected to your horse that you can sense how to communicate seamlessly with him moment to moment (like a dance partner leading the dance.)

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Stop Leaning!

You’ve heard it before. Someone shouts, “Stop leaning!” Immediately it feels like someone put your finger in a light socket. Your eyes bug out and your back goes stiff in an effort to get upright in the saddle! Ugh! That’s not exactly what you wanted instead!

Without realizing it, it’s so easy to develop the habit of leaning in lots of directions. Maybe you lean and kind of pump your upper body forward to try to get your horse to go (instead of using leg/feet cues only.)

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It’s a natural instinct.

When your horse gets nervous and starts “antsing” around, you try and calm him by looking down at him, petting him on the neck and loosening the reins. A loving look, a pat on the neck and a release of the reins are three responses that would seem to take the pressure off of him, right?

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