Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Beautiful Pacific Northwest
• Horses: 0
If you don't have a Western saddle handy, use the English. The suggestion of the Western saddle was for the horn = something to grab onto. I would think that you could do about the same thing by putting a grab strap on your English saddle until she builds some confidence. You don't need a bonafide grab-strap. An old spur-strap or piece of rope attached to the dee-rings should suffice.
Do the above mentioned balance exercises at a walk until she builds confidence, balance, and relaxes and no longer feels she needs the horn/grab-strap.
I think a few of the above posts might really be onto something. Many green riders will tense up in anticipation of their first trot. Being tense is bone-jarring, especially if sitting the trot. Once that's happened, she'll tense up even more the next time, in anticipation of having her kidneys turned to jell-o.
Here's an exercise my trainer did with me (30 years ago - some details might not be accurate).
-Sit on the horse at a standstill with someone holding the horse. No stirrups.
-take time to find the balance point and the leg position that gives the best contact and most comfort.
- sit there like that until completely relaxed and comfortable. If still tense, ask her to yawn deeply. This will relax most people.
-Close the eyes. Feel the balance, position, and relax completely.
-Now envision a thick, heavy bathmat. Yes, bathmat. Visualise that it's soaking wet. You know how heavy that is and how it wraps itself onto every surface? Visualize that all your body parts that contact the saddle/horse are a wet bathmat. Let your lower body become that wet bathmat. Relax and balance like that.
30 years later, whenever I'm on a horse with a bonejarring trot that makes me start to tense up and bounce, I think of that wet bathmat.
Last edited by freia; 07-22-2012 at 08:46 PM.