Rider Training: How to Keep Your Rider Alert

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I am a laid back kinda guy, friendly, and inquisitive. If there is something new out there I want to check it out. That said, I need to let you know I have been working with my DOR to be more trusting. She has a tendency to micro-manage when she is riding … HELLO I know what I am doing, I have been walking around on these four hooves for ten years now and she has been riding me for a bit over a year.

So, I finally have her where she is relaxed and not telling me what to do constantly, the arena is full of toys I have been playing with, and she is staying nice and relaxed – almost too relaxed, in fact it is as if she is taking me for granted. Hmmmph. Well, I need to make sure that while she is relaxed that she is also alert for anything that might come along and surprise her causing her to squeeze my sides. I hate it when she squeezes my sides and does that butt tightening, air sucking eeeek reaction when something surprises her … she needs to be desensitized a bit.

So I decide to stop and visit with a lawn chair for a bit. DOR relaxes and sets both hands on the saddle horn and gives a big sigh … she is now not paying attention to me, she is kinda spacing out – now is the time to get her to focus back on me! So, I nose the chair rocking it a bit (stage one), I push it to where it almost tips (stage two), she still is too relaxed, so I push the chair completely over and squirt off to the left (stage three). Boy that got her attention! She is scrambling to not squeeze me, not loose the rein, and then she remembers (a bit too late) to do her one rein stop. Well, I have now taught her that she must give me her attention at all times and to watch what I am doing. After a couple of these lessons I am sure I won’t have to get to stage three again – but if I do it is okay because it is a heck of a lot of fun and good for a giggle.

Enjoy your day, and don’t forget to hug your DOR!