Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Centered Riding Clinic Day 1 Group Lesson

I started off the lesson with leg work. When the legs are relaxed, the pelvis is in position, and the lower back is able to sink down into alignment. The seat becomes deeper and more secure. This is a wonderful feeling.

To ground the outside foot, we did an exercise that isn’t a Centered Riding exercise. We lifted our arms out to the side and did windmills. Turning from the waist, we stretched one arm out front and the other towards the tail, and slowly looked at the tail. Then we changed the arms, bringing the arm that was towards the tail, back towards the head of the horse, and the other arm towards the tail. We looked towards the tail from the other direction, slowly. This helps to stretch out the back and engage the hip joint.

We walked using our “Following Seat”. We worked on spinning our Center, backwards and faster, to move our horses into a longer, freer stride. We added the trot and posted, using only our Center to post. On the corners, we did the “Barber Pole”. We worked on the wrong diagonal and spiraled our posting upwards as we rounded the corners, as well as grounded our outside foot. We squeezed the outside leg as we were sitting, doing this since we were in the wrong diagonal. On the correct diagonal, we maintained the grounded outside foot.

We practiced an exercise to get the correct bend in our horses. 2 cones are in each corner, set at an angle to the corner and far enough away from the corner, so the horse can travel between the 2 cones or on the outside of the cones (between the cones and the arena wall). As you near the corners of the short end of the arena, ride your horse between the first set of cones on a slight bend, then ride your horse on the outside of the 2nd set of cones, asking for a bend to the inside while pushing or keeping the horse to the outside of the cones with your leg.

You may also add some outside rein to help move the horse over, as long as the horse has a bend in his/her body to the inside. Don't pull so much on the outside rein that the horse will look outside, as that will give an incorrect bend and cause the horse to drop the shoulder to the inside. Actually, when you do this, the horse will be in a very slight bend. and the horse will start to frame up. On the straight rail of the long sides of the arena, let go of the horse a little and let him stretch out.

At one point, Carol, the Instructor, told me to not turn with my shoulders so much. This is a habit from looking too far in advance where I am going. I need to look only a little past the corner, so that I don’t have too much turn in my body.

We worked on freeing up the horses and moving them out. I hope Shaggy is ready to move out today. His trot is great. His walk is sluggish, and I need to be able to transfer the energy from my center into his freer walk.

More later tonight after today’s clinic lesson! Have a great day!

1 comment:

Rising Rainbow said...

Very good! Looks like you're learning lots of useful stuff. Can't wait to heare how the next day went.


Messick Quarter Horses

Check out my website at:

Lessons, Training and Horse Sales
E-mail me at

Messick Tack & Feed

Messick Tack & Feed
website will be up soon! Click on logo to see current specials!