I need new photos, but this is a great one! 
Lately, Dino has been teaching me a lot about committing to things.

Because of an irritated eyeball (All better now, in case you were worried! Eyeball no likey pollen blowing around in the wind.), yesterday I opted to do some easy trot sets in Dino's western headstall to keep extra straps away from his eye.

Do you know what a huge PITA it is to do fitness work out in the open with extra-long split reins on a lazy pony who doesn't really neck rein? It's an exercise in frustration and juggling way too much leather at one time.

To achieve my lofty goal of riding in a somewhat straight line and having the pony pointing vaguely where I wanted him to go, I needed to really commit to my steering. Not having short reins and a snaffle bit served to highlight my habit of looking and positioning my body where Dino is currently going, not where I want him to go, and being wishy-washy about my requests.

It's problematic.

Without the help of more direct contact with Dino's mouth, I found that I had to very definitively COMMIT to steering with my entire body. There could be no eyes looking where Dino's ears were pointing and vaguely opening my inside rein. No, this had to be a full-body experience. Dino does steer off my seat quite well, but only when I'm actually using my body to tell him what to do.

Committed to snax.
Committing to each turn and change in direction was more challenging than it should have been, and I found myself chanting "Commit! Commit!" each time I had to steer Dino around the field instead of letting him book it towards the barn. I have such a strong desire to look where he's going instead of where I want him to go, and it was difficult to overcome that. I am glad that this ride made me more aware of it!

I've also been learning to commit to the quality of gait that I want from my pony. Instead of letting him throw my body around and go off in whatever unbalanced mess of legs and neck he finds easier than straight and through, It's been eye-opening to see that when I commit my position to the gait I want, Dino often meets me there.

In the same way, committing to the canter I want and committing to getting to the other side of the fence when jumping makes everything smooth, flowing, and easy.

I'm learning once again that this is not a sport for the uncommitted!


  1. We've gotta stick to our guns so to speak. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

  2. I've been working on this with Courage too--I see the quality of gaits he can produce on the lunge line, so if he's not mirroring that under saddle, then obviously I need to ride better. Hmmmm.

    1. Riding better. What a novel concept!

  3. I work on commitment all the time. Like committing to a distance. Or committing to actually go forward. Really, I'm a commitment-phobe when it comes to riding, apparently.

  4. lolz i'm committed to snax too, Dino :D seriously tho - so true, my biggest 'oh shit' moments with the mareface come when i lack commitment (case in point: my recent xc spill). and, conversely, she's at her best and happiest as a riding horse when i'm fully committed - she knows she can rely on me in those situations.

  5. Love that second photo <3 he's so gorgeous. I had to laugh at your descriptions of your long reins, thats why when I do games I knot my reins.

  6. Beautiful photos! I am also learning about commitment I feel like in ways I never thought of them before using that term.


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