Counterintuitive Series #6:
Tiny Steps Done Well

This is number six in our counter-intuitive series that discusses many of the basics of horsemanship and riding, interwoven with the mental tools and skills that we all know we should do, but we tend to do just the opposite.

Today’s topic is about the tiny steps involved in doing any maneuver we do on a horse. If we don’t do each one of the small steps well (in the chain along the way), then the maneuver as a whole will not be smooth. Or it may not build the confidence of our horse – or us.


VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Heh, it’s Barb.

Today’s topic is about the tiny steps involved in doing any maneuver we do on a horse. If we don’t do each one of the small steps well (in the chain along the way), then the maneuver as a whole will not be smooth. Or it may not build the confidence of our horse – or us.

As riders, we need to be aware of the steps. We need to cultivate the patience to do each of them so smoothly that the big picture ends up looking and feeling like a beautiful and seamless whole.

[Barb shows an example of the steps by backing Nic twice.]

The micro-steps in backing involve:

  1. Setting an intention for taking 4-5 steps back smoothly
  2. Sitting back in the saddle
  3. Sliding my hands down the reins
  4. Applying slight pressure to the reins
  5. Waiting for Nic to give his nose
  6. Asking Nic to back up by applying slightly more pressure with the reins (and perhaps with my feet simultaneously to move his feet)
  7. Nic takes 4-6 steps back
  8. Release the pressure immediately and let him stand

The moral of the story is to do your best to understand the steps of any maneuver. I know that you don’t always know those small pieces, but just being aware that they exist and being curious is a great first step.

Then, do your best to discover when to go to the next step and release the pressure.

Let me know what you think! Leave a comment.

Print This Post Print This Post    Email This Post Email This Post   

Comments

12 Comments on Counterintuitive Series #6:
Tiny Steps Done Well

  1. Cindy on Sun, 16th May 2021 2:17 pm
  2. Thank you Barbra, I’m helping some first time riders. And I’ve been instilling into them that if you can’t do it at a walk than going fast will not be your best ride. They are wanting there horses to be soft. Your instructions have helped me to explain it better. Thank you!

  3. Ulrike Minelga on Sun, 16th May 2021 3:27 pm
  4. Thanks, Barb.
    I always listen to your video tips.
    Today’s was especially good for me, because I am working on the smooth backing with two of our summer camp school horse. I have been trying to do the same steps, and not rush the aids. Your comments confirmed that I am on the right track.
    I miss seeing you and Julie at C Lazy U
    Hopefully some day we will meet again.

    Best wishes from Ulli in Alaska

  5. Jaime Brown on Sun, 16th May 2021 4:04 pm
  6. This is an awesome thought. At this time forcusing on how to break things to help him nderstand and succeed.

  7. Jaime Brown on Sun, 16th May 2021 4:05 pm
  8. Thanks for reading it down….

  9. Stacy Weatherly on Sun, 16th May 2021 4:29 pm
  10. Thank you for sharing this beautiful message. I especially like that we need to ask for the horse to give his nose before asking for the next step of backing. As usual your advice and concepts are like a swan gracefully landing in a pond of water.
    A beautiful dance.
    Thank you again Barb!

  11. Claire on Sun, 16th May 2021 5:11 pm
  12. Great one Barb! I would also add that I have to REALLY think about taking those cues and doing them all the same way in the same sequence every time. Amazing to me how often that part is left out-so the horse is left wondering what you are really asking for, and chaos ensues! I also love that you don’t get worried when Nic-who has a PhD-doesn’t do things perfectly every time-it is such a blessing to see reality!and doesn’t detract one bit from the professionalism and truth of any message!

  13. Renate Nelson on Sun, 16th May 2021 6:36 pm
  14. Thankyou Barb for explaining the steps.
    And noticing how my horse responds and feel for him.

  15. Diana on Sun, 16th May 2021 7:55 pm
  16. Thank you Barb! Totally off topic but what brand of saddle is that?

  17. Tonya Holmes on Mon, 17th May 2021 6:16 am
  18. Always so cool to think it through. Love that u say we may not know the steps but thinking about it helps us feel.

  19. Christy Agan on Mon, 17th May 2021 9:39 am
  20. Oh my what a great reminder of how important it is to understand the tiny steps involved in any maneuver! Thank you again Barb for making things so clear as they relate to how our horses respond to us.

  21. Norma J Rolff on Mon, 17th May 2021 12:20 pm
  22. I shall give this a try when next I ride. You make it look so smooth. I shall move more smoothly giving my horse time to read my cues. Thanks Barb. Love to read and see the tips you have for us. Baby steps

  23. Amanda on Mon, 17th May 2021 2:59 pm
  24. Hi Barb. Can you help with some of these micro steps to lope? My mare anticipates and if I give resistance with the reins to say “not yet” she gets very head strong and “hot” and wants to go.
    I am not blaming her at all- it’s obviously my preparation that creates this- she is a very sensitive and smart girl, has a beautiful jog and we lose composure in the lope.

Tell me what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!





This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.