My teacher, Pat Parelli, says "The more you use your reins, the less the horse uses his brains." When my students want to get better at riding with Finesse, I like to challenge their ability to ride the horse with one rein through Patterns and Obstacles. Often, we use the reins more than we know and don't really develop our seat connection as well as we can. Riding with one rein and a carrot stick will show you how good your seat connection really is.
Before I try to ride with contact, I want to be able to stop, turn, go backwards, sideways, etc. with just my seat. My favorite saying from Pat Parelli is "Your seat is the Verb. The reins are the Adjective that adds beauty and shape." Your seat says Go, Slow, Sideways, etc. Your reins will be neutral in true contact, with the communication coming from your Energy, your Intention and your Seat Connection. Set up some obstacles and see if you can do the course with one rein and your carrot stick. It will show you what is working and what is not. It will show you if you rely on your reins too much.
Come join my Ride Better Clinic series this Fall and I will share the techniques and skills I have learned from Pat and Linda Parelli to help you develop the partnership and seat connection you have dreamed of with your horse. Take one clinic or the whole Ride Better series with clinics in October, November and December. We'll show you how to truly improve your horsemanship and make a difference with your horse.