Develop feel by focusing here

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been talking about the pieces of riding. It’s been a lot of fun. I had a lot of comments about last week’s video when I worked Nic on the flag to demonstrate a point that applies to all riders.

One of our members sent in a question about flag work. I’m going to respond to the specific question about flag work, but my response also applies to all disciplines. The concept I explain is an important one for developing ‘feel’.

That’s what this video is all about.


VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, it’s Barb. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been talking about the pieces of riding. It’s been lots of fun. I had a lot of comments about last week’s video when I worked Nic on the flag to demonstrate a point that applied to all riders.

One of our members sent in a question about flag work. I’m going to respond to the specific question about flag work, but my response also applies to all disciplines.

This rider’s trainer always asks her to step her horse back after she stops on the flag.

But when she saw me in the video last week, I didn’t do that every time. She asked why.

My answer got me thinking about a concept that goes across all disciplines.

I’m using Nick is an example to demonstrate on the flag.

I hope it’s helpful for the cutters and cow horse people but these concepts really go across all disciplines. What I am about to explain is an important concept for you to understand in everything you do for every maneuver… every transition… every backup… every turn…etc.

There are sequences of movements involved in any maneuver. Some of those movements are critical to the rest of the movements that follow, so if they are skipped or rushed, the entire maneuver is impacted.

Here’s how it works for a cow turn. When a horse stops, they need to rock back to transfer their weight on their hindquarters. That weight shift becomes the balance point for a pivot. We maintain that balance on the hindquarters so that the horse can pivot without going forward. (If a horse goes forward in the middle of a cow turn, you ‘hit the cow in the butt’ and the cow ends up outmaneuvering you.

As a rider working a cow, you need to ‘crave’ that ‘rock back’.

The reason trainers ask students to step their horse back is to ensure both that both the horse and the rider don’t skip that critical piece of the turn. But once you have more experience, you can feel if your horse has shifted his weight or not.

In my case with Nic, when I didn’t step him back last week it was because I could feel he had already shifted his weight back. But as a student, repetition is key, so cow horse trainers will ask you to step back repeatedly so your horse stays correct and you learn that ‘feel’.

BARB WORKS NIC ON THE FLAG AND DEMONSTRATES WHEN HE STEPS BACK ON HIS OWN AND WHEN HE DOESN’T.

BARB RETURNS TO SPEAK TO THE CAMERA.

It’s the same in all disciplines. As a student, seek to understand why you are doing a particular movement with your horse. Feel it. Don’t rush through it. That one little piece… that one critical movement… is important for you to seek and develop in the sequence of moves for your entire maneuver. That’s where accuracy and excellence lie.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Comments

17 Comments on Develop feel by focusing here

  1. Jeanette Fiveash on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 1:19 pm
  2. I love these videos Barb. Thanks so much for doing them. I didn’t recognize the “hop” Nic did that you did the 360 back up for. Can you please explain a little more about what he did and why you did that back up to fix it? Thanks!

  3. Lynn Rivers on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 1:55 pm
  4. Thank you Barb. Great succinct explanation of what to feel for! Very helpful to me.

  5. Kimberly Moody on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 4:27 pm
  6. Thank you Barb, learning so much! I love seeing how patient you are in seeking excellence. Watching you ride and explaining the ‘feel’ is very helpful.

  7. Claire on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 5:00 pm
  8. Thanks so much Barb! Great reminders on the tiny steps to the bigger goal-and serendipitously-this is exactly the piece of training my friend is dealing with right now-so I’ll make sure she gets this!
    Blessings on your day! and I love how you always praise Nic..so refreshing!

  9. Elaine Bohlin on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 5:07 pm
  10. Barb,

    I love these videos on flag work! Please keep them coming. You are doing a great job of explaining what to look for, do, feel and WHY!

  11. Elaine Bohlin on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 5:09 pm
  12. Also, it is always good to see Nick. he just makes you happy to look at his little face.

  13. Dorothy on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 6:12 pm
  14. Nice horse Barb, thank you good reminders on taking your time and being relaxed

  15. Pam Medley on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 6:43 pm
  16. Nice video and very helpful, thanks!!

  17. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 7:27 pm
  18. This was really pretty to watch–just loved it!

  19. Karen Stephens on Mon, 24th Aug 2020 8:55 am
  20. I loved this video!!! Once in a while Pepto will hop in cutting and the flag. My trainer hasn’t told me about the 360. I will have to ask him about his and execute it. This will give me some time once he’s well to fine tune a little bit more.

  21. Kim Darnall on Mon, 24th Aug 2020 10:06 am
  22. Thank you Barb
    Such a great explanation.

    It has taken some time to learn the feel
    of the “rock back”. Great choice of words…. SHIFT.

    As a beginner, I always thought a “ step”
    had to be involved.

    It’s a great feeling when you can feel the shift. ( on your own !!!!)

    It becomes muscle memory to both horse and rider. And the reminder or correction
    needs to be soft.

    I love how you use the BREATH
    to be soft…

  23. Lynn Sava on Mon, 24th Aug 2020 1:48 pm
  24. Thanks Barb! It makes so much sense and you can easily see it in the video but It must take a a while to develop feel.

  25. Louise on Mon, 24th Aug 2020 2:16 pm
  26. This was fun to watch and learn from. The genuine sharing of the experience from start to finish of your riding Nick is very instructive and so open and spontaneous. It gives me a level of comprehension that cannot be gotten by just reading or just watching. Thanks!

  27. Ellen Elen on Mon, 24th Aug 2020 3:03 pm
  28. That was the best explanation ever of the step back. I have been expecting my mare to make a step back but watching Nick I’m pretty sure that is what she is already doing. But even so now I have a picture in my mind of the how to. Thanks again!

  29. Janice on Mon, 24th Aug 2020 3:25 pm
  30. Thank you for pointing out that movements on our horses are really a series of movements. I am sure I focus too much on the outcome rather than the steps to get there.

  31. Caroline Mackinnon on Tue, 25th Aug 2020 3:38 am
  32. Thank you Barb, once again a reminder to enjoy the ride along the way and learn from it, rather than a rush to meet the end. And breathe lol!

  33. Ray Randle on Thu, 27th Aug 2020 2:25 am
  34. Hi Barb
    I love your thoughts and advice. In my experience asking a horse to back particularly if you’re not confident with back leg position risks you asking the horse to turn off the wrong leg. If the horse just rocks his weight back this is probably less of a risk.
    An exercise I find useful to get around this is in practice on a fence just gently draw the horses nose through about a metre out and they pretty quickly learn to position and rock themselves back
    Regards
    Ray

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