The Little Things

Unfortunately, the snow did not magically disappear overnight.


But I soldiered on and made it to the barn dressed in approximately fifty layers, hoping to get something mildly productive done.

The ponies were all out frolicking in the snow, so we were pretty much stuck in the ring. I hauled out the western tack again and climbed aboard my noble steed.

Since the footing was not super great and there was ice in our footprints from the day before, I decided not to do anything crazy, and worked on refining our halt, walk, and jog transitions.

It amazes me every time how my pony can feel me tighten my buttcheeks through 30 pounds of leather, wood, and metal when I ride in my western saddle. I practiced transitions until Dino was responding to the slightest shift, stopping with just a squeeze of my butt and a tightening of my abs, and moving forward when I rolled my pelvis forward and lifted my seat.

It was pretty fantastic.

The ride was also a great reminder of just how sensitive horses are, and how "shouting" cues at them just isn't necessary. It's the little things that get a response: a minute shift of weight, the tightening of a muscle, a thought, a turn of the head. Taking time to work on these little, simple things and doing them as quietly as possible also revealed how often I get caught up in the moment when I'm riding and start using much louder aids than are necessary. I use so much more hand and leg than necessary! Everything I did yesterday, I did on a loopy rein, and took the occasional feather-light feel of his mouth if Dino wasn't responding right away. I want to remember how that felt, and strive for that lightness every ride.

In the meantime, today I'll be taking it easy after having a lovely fall down my icy back steps, and ripping my pants in the process.

Is it spring yet?


  1. I feel the same about the saddle. I understand that whole "they can feel a fly" thing, but it still seems amazing to me when I feel a horse response to a weight shift through a saddle.

    1. Especially the western saddle, which is gigantic and not very flexible and also has an inch thick pad under it! It boggles my mind.


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