How I Discovered Exercises
That Help Develop Feel

This week’s video tells how something started with working a cow and became an entire system of skills you can learn to help you develop more feel and connection.

The transcript tells the story, too, but the video has the detail you need to hear and see to get the full meal deal.

Hey, it’s Barb.

I have a story to tell you. It begins with cow horse and cutting ‘stuff’ but ends with something for everyone in all disciplines. Here’s what happened.

I was thinking about updating my Flag Fundamentals Program about three years ago. (Now, if you don’t ride horses on cattle – a flag is a mechanical device whereby we can teach a horse how to turn with a cow.)

I started thinking I should give instruction and exercises to develop the horsemanship skills needed for flag and cow work – like the position of your seat, keeping your eyes up, breathing, using your legs independently, etc. All of those skills are necessary when working a cow.

With how my brain works (breaking things down,) I ended up with 12 exercises.

Then I realized those 12 exercises weren’t just the skills, behaviors, and routines for people who work a horse on cattle, but they were also a way to develop a close connection with a horse no matter what kind of riding you do. I soon released a program called Well CONNECTED for riders in all disciplines.

Over this past year, I also realized I could take things even further and teach ‘micro-moves’ which are more subtle communications:

  • A still upper body.
  • Feeling a horse underneath you even more.
  • Being very responsive.

So I added five more exercises to take the skills even deeper.

In this video, I will share a little bit about those steps.

The first thing is using your breath to get grounded before you ever mount up and right after you get on. You also set an intention for your ride, and you can wait for your horse to take a breath if you like.

Next, take another breath and look where you want to go.
(Barb begins walking Nic and talking.)

The next step is all about your seat. That’s because your seat is the primary way everyone communicates with a horse.
(Barb demos an exercise about feeling your seat bones.)

The next thing is developing more rhythm by bringing your energy up and down. Bringing it up translates to a faster gait (usually), while energy down is typically a slower gait.
(Barb demos serpentines on Nic.)

Now we have eyes up all the time – looking where we’re going – my body comes up a little bit for energy up and down a bit for energy down as I exhale.

The next thing is a sequence of cueing. It’s a thought, a breath, eyes up, and you feel your seat. Next are your legs. Your hands come last.
(Barb rides Nic around demonstrating the cueing system.)

I feel the motion of Nic’s body under my seat. He knows when I collapse in the saddle, that means slow down or stop.

I try to use my eyes first to guide him. If he’s fresh and not listening, I’ll use my hand to support and direct him. It’s important to know that your hands are not the first thing you go to.

Next, we go to micro-moves. I ask Nic to do something; he responds, and I respond almost imperceptibly. We’re together – going back and forth smoothly.

You can do the same! It just takes practice and building the skills methodically.

I have a new four-part free Workshop that explains it all! If you’re interested in this free Workshop, click the link below, and I will send you the lessons. Lesson One is already waiting!

Now you know the story of how something started with working a cow and then became an entire system of being grounded, still, and balanced in the saddle. You can also become a super clear communicator with subtle cues.

Thank you, and leave a comment for me. Let me know what you think and if this resonates with you. Bye-bye!

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9 Comments on How I Discovered Exercises
That Help Develop Feel

  1. Diane Godwin on Sun, 10th Jul 2022 1:34 pm
  2. When you put your hands under your seat bones and lookers the left, Nic looked to the leftandwhen you looked to the right he looked to the right. 🙂 Nicandyouare looking good!

  3. Kelly Roemer on Sun, 10th Jul 2022 2:12 pm
  4. Thank you, Barb!
    Loved the demo! I was very surprised how much I could feel my seat bones!
    So much continues to make sense.
    Thank you!

  5. Dianne Burns on Sun, 10th Jul 2022 2:13 pm
  6. Thanks Barb! Your dedication to teaching inspires and motivates. I take notes. When riding, I implement/execute the info in your videos. It feels like I have my own private mentor and coach. Thank you!
    Dianne Burns
    Lompoc, CA
    P.S. my QH horse Scout thanks you also!

  7. Nancy Burroughs on Mon, 11th Jul 2022 12:38 pm
  8. Barb, I love your videos. Inspired me to go out and spend with my mare. I love the calmness we both have developed. Thank you so much
    Nancy Burroughs
    Ojai, Ca

  9. Harolyn Deason on Mon, 11th Jul 2022 2:51 pm
  10. Love it. Read this after my ride. Looking back I did each of these steps…your consistent teaching, the Alternative Horsemanship/dressage lessons I take and hours in the saddle have made me a better partner/leader for my horses. Thank you

  11. KAREN on Tue, 12th Jul 2022 8:11 am
  12. Thank you for this video, it is such a good reminder of how to softly communicate with your horse.

  13. Carol MacGregor on Wed, 13th Jul 2022 11:42 pm
  14. Thank you Barb–I love watching you ride Nic!!! Thank you too for all of this helpful information. I hope to try this out on my two older horses tomorrow. They would enjoy just walking around while I practice too. 🙂

  15. April Eaton on Thu, 28th Jul 2022 11:38 pm
  16. Thank you for this video! I missed the window of opportunity to watch this Connection series, will it be available again? Thank you!

  17. Carla Ann Stark on Sat, 6th Aug 2022 11:39 am
  18. Wow! Very interesting and needed information! I cannot find the 3-part series, guess I messed it.

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