Creating Transferrable Skills

I can't handle the cuteness of this one. 
This past Sunday I took advantage of the warm, sunny afternoon and the No Hunting On Sundays regulation in my county, and actually tacked up with my saddle and bridle to ride the perimeter of our farm. If the footing was decent, we could get in a good long canter or two in addition to changing up the scenery a bit.

With fond memories of the wonderful, connected, bouncy-round canter work and powerful trot Dino had given me during our last bareback and bitless ride, I was excited to to see how he went back in my fully-tacked-up comfort zone. 

It was, in a word, underwhelming. 

Partially because I didn't warm up with any meaningful intention, and partially because having the crutch of my saddle and bridle let me fall right back into all of my old bad habits, and maybe a little bit because I was wearing my newish schooling boots that STILL aren't broken in and my leg wasn't the most stable, Dino didn't go fantastically.

Despite the fact that I don't ride bareback/bitless with a whip or spurs, and Dino has been responding BEAUTIFULLY to the go-button without any additional assists, when I rode him fully-tacked I was back to using my aids ineffectively, nagging instead of asking and letting go, and doing a lot more holding with my upper legs.

Whomp, whomp.

While my bareback skills and understanding of how to give Dino the space to use his body well are definitely improving rapidly, at this point things don't seem like they're quite transferring to actual 'under saddle' work. And getting UP out of the saddle was significantly more physically difficult for me after a few weeks of riding almost exclusively without it!

So, my challenge here seems to be to take all the goodness I've been reaping from our bareback work - namely better balance & posture, a more effective seat, and lighter forward aids - and apply it to riding with tack. I'm not quite sure how to bridge the gap at this point, but I've got all winter to keep building those transferrable skills.


  1. Ugh I can barely transfer practice of a skill from my dressage saddle to my jump saddle, let alone bareback. Sounds frustrating tho but will perhaps help with mindfulness in figuring out what's different between the two for easier transferring??

    1. That's what I'm hoping! Ugh, eventing is a ridiculous sport. Why do we have to be so good at 3 different things?!

  2. I have to really think about new skills when I first work on acquiring them. Stick with it, and each time it will get better!

  3. I find that dropping my stirrups often helps with this! It helps me sink down and get a better feel. For me at least,the problem is usually that I want to brace against my stirrups. So dropping them helps me to kind of bridge the gap.

    Good thing you've got some time to play around and figure it out!


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