Monday, August 17, 2009

Follow-up Thoughts

I love riding my horse. I just wanted to say that first.

I have been thinking a bit about the comments I received on the "whips" blog below. A couple of people commented that they agree with my post, but do not use whips/spurs on a daily basis because they do not need them. (Please read the comments--they are very good and very thoughtful) I see where they are coming from, but today, when i was riding my horse, I had kind of a lightbulb moment...not exactly the kind where you think "AHA! That is how it is done! or I feel it now! or I understand that point of theory now!" But a combination of all of that. When I was trying to explain why and how I use the whip/spurs in the post, I was clear in the explanation, but now I know it didn't go far enough into the theory behind the why and how (here is another level).

My horse is very responsive to my leg, but he is not explosive. That is a good thing because I DON'T want him explosive. I WANT him relaxed when I put my leg on him. I want his reaction to build smoothly and fairly quickly, but I don't want it to be "over-the-top", because that is always the result of tension. The whip (and/or spur) are used to indicate to him to shift to the "next gear" when he reaches the "RPMs" maximum of my leg aid....does that make sense? I don't WANT him to go into overdrive the second I put my leg on him...I want him to shift smoothly and effortlessly up and down--and for the record, horse gears don't necessarily mean just faster/slower, as we know. The whip and/or spur aids give me more adjustability in my horse. It brings the communication to an even higher level. That, in theory, is why spurs are mandatory at the FEI levels. I only wish that everyone learned, knew and practiced the CORRECT use of all the aids, natural and auxillary.

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