Fifth Leg Training

Last Monday [Slow Starter], I admitted that I have a hard time getting my brain in gear when I first get on a horse. It’s not all bad. There is even a training rationale behind it.

When jumping, the situation can go wahoonie-shaped in a hurry. Either the rider errs or the horse expresses an abundance of enthusiasm. If one is truly, deeply up the creek, the best thing one can do is to sit chilly and hope that the horse will extricate one’s sorry ass through a combination of balance & athleticism. This is called finding a fifth leg. I am a firm believer in this. Okay, if I were Phillip Dutton and never made a mistake, I wouldn’t need it.

I want a horse who is used to thinking on his/her own. When I become completely befuddled, I want the horse to say, ‘It’s okay, Boss. I got this one.’ Granted, I can’t go to that well too often. Otherwise, the horse would turn me in for a newer model. But, I want to know that if I have to throw away the reins, grab mane, and pray, the horse will not suffer a crisis of abandonment. This is particularly true with an event horse on cross-country. If that means my score for ‘submission’ in the dressage phase is low, so be it.

In saddleseat, dressage, or ballroom dancing, one doesn’t generally expect to go ass over teakettle. Of course, things can happen. When one is dealing with moving bodies, entropy can always increase. But generally, one expects teakettles to stay where put.

So I will adapt – or try to – while riding the Saddlebreds. I will get on, go to right work, keep a contact, and generally act as if I am in charge of the situation. When I am back on my own horse, he (most likely) had better be ready to take the controls.
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More Gratuitous Trees

Our front pasture/yard

Our front pasture/yard


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Categories: Horses, Riding, Sports Psychology

2 replies »

    • Priney saved my rear on more than one occasion. She wasn’t exceptionally bold, but it was her job to take care of me and she did.
      Chief, not so much, LOL.

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