07-20-2012, 12:22 PM
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Here are some exercises our trainers did with us when I was a kid:
Take the stirrups away for all these.
-Option 1: On a lead line or lunge line, have her put her arms out like an airplane. Look at her and make sure her "wings" are level. Most people will be banking to one side. Once level, lead/lunge her that way. Ask her to feel the horse. Feel where her body contacts the saddle and feel the horse's movement underneath her. Ask her to focus on feeling how the horse responds to her movements. She needs to start communicating with her body and legs. When she's comfortable, have her close her eyes and do it all again. Once proficient, do it at a trot, but with eyes open.
- option 2 - similar to option 1, but simpler: Lunge her with her arms out. You want her to be able to sit the trot without being dependent on her arms and hands for balance. She needs her hands free to control the horse, not to balance herself or hang on. Does your horse have a smooth trot that's actually "sittable" or is she uncomfortable and getting bounced hard when trotting?
- option 3: We had lesson horses that reliably followed the rail and maintained their gait when I was a kid. This only works with that kind of horse. Maybe it would work on a lunge line as well. If your horse is trotting her into the wall, it may not be a good idea. Without stirrups, and eventually bareback, we did all kinds of what I called yoga at the trot. We'd hold onto the cantle and kick our heels together above the pommel (gives you great abs too!). We'd stretch out arms out to the side, then reach down and touch one toe at a time, etc. The whole idea was to improve our balance and glue our seats to the horse.
I'd suggest trying bsms' suggestion first to get her out of panic-mod and show her that she can do it, then work on improving her seat and balance with something like what I mentioned.