Self carriage is something a lot of riders have on their ‘goals’ list for their horse. As though it is something that can be achieved once and ‘ticked off’. Done and dusted. If only…
I believe that self carriage is a sign of development and growth in both horse and rider. A start in the sharing of responsibilities that lead to the desired outcome. Each team member realizing that it truly does take a team effort in order to make real and lasting progress.
And yet, so often, the rider can get in the way and actually hinder the horse’s training when it comes to self carriage.
Self Carriage is a Result
I believe that true self carriage is not really something you can simply decide to do on any given day. If that were true, where would you begin? Rather, self carriage will naturally begin to show up and reveal itself when other factors are present.
Self carriage occurs when conditions are right.
So, as the rider and team leader, your responsibility becomes creating a situation where the conditions are right for your horse to begin carrying himself. And it is often much easier to do this on the ground, rather than on your horse’s back.
Lunging for Self Carriage
This is where lunging can play an important role. It will allow you to take on the perspective of a trainer for your horse. You can actually see what he is doing, rather than ‘feeling’ it (and possibly being wrong) from the saddle.
Lunging allows your horse the space to experience his own development and growth, without a rider muddling the communication or feeling.
He will get to develop his:-
- physical self
- mental self
- emotional self
And all three are key for correct growth. We all know of a horse who can physically do the thing, but doesn’t believe he can do the thing. Or is worried and anxious about doing the thing…
Training Yourself Too
Lunging also allows you to train yourself. You will get to experience the consequence of each of your actions (or non-actions) as it plays out in real-time. When you mindfully apply an aid, you get to actually see the effect it has on your horse.
Seeing the effects of your actions will help you to become more mindful of your aids – and that carries across to every area of your communication with your horse.
If you are keen to go deeper into lunging and learn how to use this powerful tool to improve your riding, join me inside of Lunging for Riding.
Other Resources to Help You with This Topic:-
- Improving Your Riding Coordination & Aids While Lunging
- Lunging for Riding – 4-week step by step program to transform your lunging experience
- Online community for equestrians working on their mindset & fitness
- Online Community for equestrians focusing on re-schooling horses (and ex-racehorses)
- The Daily Strides Podcast on iTunes
- The Daily Strides Podcast on Stitcher Radio