Free lesson on how to train a horse to rein with light aids:

Free lesson on how to train a horse to rein with light aids. I always like to share how to train a horse from my life experiences. Life experiences through story telling are an excellent way to learn because you can see better in how you would like to approach your own horse. It opens the door to your imagination and creativity.

Carolyn Andree
Carolyn Andree

What made be think of this lesson was a trip I took last week with Andree to attend the Arabian horse Show in Scottsdale, Arizona. I can’t wait to go back next year! After visiting Scottsdale we then went on to Sedona to visit my high school and enjoy those great big red, red, rocks and canyons in nature. I also wanted Andree to see how beautiful the desert was. As I was reflecting on our trip, I realized I needed to write a blog and give a free lesson.

The high school I attended was Verde Valley School where I took my horse, Lover, who was a four-year-old Arabian. Lover was from the Kellogg’s Ranch and she was a beautiful chestnut mare. She came into my life at the age of two and was only halter broke. I had started her under saddle at three. When we arrived at the school she was green but very dependable.

I was looking forward to showing her while I was there. I found out they had no horse shows and that the only thing they had was a rodeo that offered barrel racing. So I had no choice but to enter her in the barrel racing. This was going to be a challenge.

What I am about to share with you will help you to create a horse to have the lightest of rein aids whether it is green or experienced and it is fun, if you like training horses that is.

Think on how you might develop a green horse that would respond to light aids at top speed. I figured this out through meditation. We had an Indian Kiva that John Brown built where I went to meditate and to figure things out and develop a spiritual awareness.

I sat for some time in neutral before I asked myself how I was going to train Lover to run with the wind and go where I wanted her go. To this point when she ran I went where she went and she sort of took directions from me, if she was in the mood.

redrocks
redrocks

I had half of her training for Barrel racing on her because she could run like the wind and was very, very fast. Now all I needed to do was to get her to listen to where I wanted her to go and to neck rein while doing it. At the time she did not even neck rein. I had never trained a horse to neck rein, but I could figure this out as I went along. I want to point out to you that passion is the mother of all inventions. If you are not passionate it will slow things down for you, but do not worry because you can do it. The plan I am about to share with you is one I have used all my life. I hope you will try it and let me know how it worked for you and what things you learned along the way.

What I did was walk in the pattern next to her until she showed that she understood the pattern. Then I trotted with her until she got the pattern. Then I ground drove her to the pattern in walk and then in trot. I found her to be very light to the rein aids. I then began riding her around the barrels in walk. When she went wide I then would stop her and recalibrate her direction and stop her again until she was willing to stand without being held. I reined with a direct rein, with one rein in each hand, and used the neck rein along with the use of direct rein together. She already new the pattern, so it was quite easy. Once she began to walk the pattern without the rein aids I moved her into trot doing the same pattern and then when she could do the same thing in trot we moved into canter and trot transitions. Then when she could do that we then worked the pattern in canter. When she could do that without the rein aids she was light to the rein aids any time I used them from the connection we had developed together and I could run the barrels at top speed and all I needed to do was stay on.

The joy I got from taking it slowly I wish I could share with you but it is too great to put in words. I can only say that it is like a meditation and a dance in harmony and joy. In two months Lover and I had produced a miracle. I entered the barrel race and we won it. It was not the winning that mattered it was the feeling of accomplishment and the journey we shared together which brought us to a deep connection.

I can say that my experience with Lover was greater than I could have experienced with my own kind. Nothing could beat it. What happened in her training is that her rein aids were so light that they came from a thought and a shift of my seat in the saddle. From then on she would try to figure out my message that I would send to her through the reins. If I wanted contact on the reins she would give it to me or if I wanted a lose rein. I went on to show her both in English and Western dressage and jumping. You can do that at Arabian shows. We were hooked on the dance of adventure. I hope this story helps to inspire you.

Have a great weekend!  Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.

Warmly, Carolyn

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