Many of us come out to the barn and we have limited time to work with our horses, we have a busy schedule and when we go out, we work with our horses, we want to make sure we're maximizing our results for the time that we're investing with our horses. So I want to give you four tips that have helped me in my journey of riding and in training to help really get the best results from my time spent with my horses both in improving my riding and in furthering my horse's training.

                                   When You Get Something Good ..... Release !

We want to release our horse often throughout a workout because when we release it's a form of reward and the more often that we do it, the more positive our work is going to be.So there's two types of release I want to talk to you guys about. 

The first one is physical release.

So I'm going to walk Sonic forward here. And I'm going to give you an example of this. Let's say I want to move Sonic off of my right seat bone, my right leg and my right rein. And I want him to step to the left when I do that. So I walk him forward. I apply my right seat bone and leg, right rein, he steps away and I release my rein. So let's see that again. I apply my leg and my rein here. I'm going to wait a second. When he steps away, I release that pressure. So that's a little bit of an exaggerated example, but by releasing that, having a physical release, I'm rewarding Sonic for responding to my seat in my leg, by giving me the correct answer of stepping away. The other form of release is changing the subject. So when your horse gives you something positive, you're giving them a break by changing the topic.
Here, I'm trotting Sonic to the right, and you can see that his head is up, a little inverted, a little tense in his trot. And right here when he starts to stretch out, open his trot up and really give me a nice relaxed trot I went ahead and walked him.And that's changing that subject from the trot to the walk, giving him a break. I could also change direction here to give him a break and that would be a significant reward for him. 

A Positive MindSet

Many times we go out and ride our horses, we have some negative things from maybe the day before or the week before in our mind for a ride. Let's say, for instance, I'm riding my horse around and she's always spooking at the door. And so I go out into that ride I think, well, she's probably going to spook at the door. I'm probably going to have a bad ride today. If that's in your mind, then chances are your ride is going to go south, you're not going to have such a good ride. But if you go into that ride with this mindset of, you know what, my horse might spook at the door today, and this is a great learning opportunity. I'm going to work on, getting her attention right off the bat and setting her up for success and preparing myself. So if she does spook at the door,

I know how to handle it and I'm more confident. And the same thing when it comes to you in improving your ride in your mindset, if you're having an issue like leaning forward, for instance, in your riding, and you go out into your ride thinking, oh, I'm probably going to lean forward,
I've always struggled this, why am I not a good rider? Why do I always have this problem? mYou're going to end up in a place
where you're continually repeating that negative movement in your body. But if you tell yourself, you know what, I tend to lean forward so let me experiment a little bit and see if I can sit back, see if I can open up my shoulders. And every time you do something a little bit better, tell yourself, wow, that was awesome.
 I'm getting better, I'm stretching up more every day, I'm becoming a better rider that's sitting up straighter and more confidently.

Practice Short &  Correct

When we're working with our horses, we're building correct muscle memory. We want our horses to be building a correct muscle memory so that we can work together as a team in a way that we're going to have success and reach our goals. And an example of really developing good muscle memory would be, let's say, I'm working on my posting trot and I'm always bouncing on the posting trot. 

And I might be thinking, you know what, I'm going to conquer this bouncing and the posting trot once and for all, I'm going to go out and I'm going to trot my horse for 45 minutes and just go around and eventually I'm going to get this down. and that's may sound like a good idea, but actually that can build some incorrect muscle memory.

So what would be a better approach would be just spending a couple minutes, posting the trots. You set yourself up, you really make sure your inner thighs are against your horse, you post incorrect form for a couple of minutes.
You take a walk break, take a breather, regain your balance and do it again. And pretty soon you'll be trotting for 45 minutes in correct form with no problem.

Always End a Good Note 

So there are studies out there that with people, if you listen to a story, we typically remember the beginning of the story and the end, and often forget what's in the middle. 
Our horses are the same way. Typically we go out and work our horses, we have about an hour or so to work with them.
And when we work with them, they're going to remember the last thing that we did the most. That's what they're going to be taking into the next workout. So I have an example of this. 

I was out riding Legend and we were working over some pole work and working on getting him to extend his trot a little bit more and loosen up. And he did a great job with that. And then I went to end the session, asked him for a stop off of my seat and he ran through the stop cue a little bit. So he ignored my seat cue. 
And so I repeated a couple of times until he stopped off my seat and then I praised him and ended the session. That way when I bring Legend out tomorrow, he's going to remember that every time I engage my core and ask him for the stop to stop off of my seat. So when you're practicing with your horses,

always remember to practice the thing that's the most difficult for them at the end of your session and reward them when they get it right so that you can make the most progress in each day you work. As you go out this week and work with your horses, try to use these four tips and let me know how they help you.

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