♔ KJRSOS Rider's Field of Study | Finding Connection ~ Changing Directions

Dedicated to understanding the complexity of the aids that ask for bend. This is where the rider has the most difficulty in the transition from passenger to rider when we begin to direct the energy of the horse.  A bridge we need to help riders cross, maximizing the lessons that come before and that come after.


The Right Starting Point

If we don't start with the correct basic thoughts and ideas behind what we are doing or what we are trying to achieve and understanding especially why we want to achieve them, we can only fail, no matter how expert the instruction that we might receive.

Too many times we look at the aids especially at the rein aids as absolutes, as if the horse has preprogrammed buttons that ensure that every time you use a rein aid in a certain way that you will get a consistent result. This is an assumption that we build our horsemanship upon.  This has been true through the ages.  If you don't think this is so, think for a moment about any book on horsemanship.  Detailed will be instructions and possibly diagrams showing which aids you should use for a shoulder-in, versus the aids you would use to achieve a canter.  The movement or gait is described and then you are given a preprogrammed set of aids, which indicates use this one set of aids and you will get a shoulder-in, use this set and your horse will canter, use this set of aids and your horse will go into a reinback.  Of course, this is true to some extent, we do rely on certain aids to achieve certain results.  But this concept, or this idea can limit us as well.

Many years ago I had covered many articles that had been covering showing horses ridden without bridles, I was lying in bed one morning day dreaming of climbing up on my one horse, started, green but already in a beautiful carriage and draping a cordoba around his neck and riding off into the sunset. Okay well maybe not riding too far after all there is a fence not that far off!

But then something jarred in this perfect dream As I envisioned the beautiful sunset and horse beneath me, my legs spread wide, he is a hefty lad, the picture of my upright torso sitting so proudly, my hand on the cordoba came into mind. And I sat up jarred out of this fuzzy warm picture. Hey that didn’t feel right. You know there is really nothing as awful as getting jarred out of a nice fuzzy daydream like that.  

I had t stop and examine what happened. Why was my reaction that instant and so completely against the feel that I felt at my body at that time. 

And inside I had one of those Eureka moments, the reins were not for the horse. They were for the rider!!! 

I am sure at this moment in time there are a few puzzled and scrunched faces going huh??

Let me explain.


The normal vision of reins and riding goes something like this... 

My vision is a little different. My vision is one of the rider learning to pattern their body such that there is a complete following from the rider to the horse. The goal is never to have the horse to come to you, but for the rider through their lifetime find where the movement and carriage is within the horse. 

As I pictured the no bridle daydream, all I could feel was the pride of sitting tall in my shoulders and in my back. 

So what is wrong with that?


Well from my perspective it creates a cast around my body. Yuck. Proud looking maybe, strong maybe, good posture, possibly, but stiff, unyielding and not moving as well. Nothing close to the daydream picture that I have in my mind and in my bones of what it feels like to ride with the reins softly draped in my hands, the flow energy starting lightly in my fingertips through soft elbows gently connected to flow of energy flowing through me and the horse. 

No union can be met in a rider who is not patterning their body to the flow of energies of all of the different movements of the horse.  Our hips, our legs mirror the movement of the hind end of the horse, moved around by the back and the powerful haunches of the horse.  But the horse has a front end as well as a hind end.  Front legs as well as hind legs.  Shoulders as well as hips.  They move in concert and we need to do the same.  Our hands merging with the energies of the horse, allowing full movement of the neck and head, brings in the movement of front legs and shoulders of the horse into our hands, elbows, shoulders and upper back.  Providing us with contact into the sequence of motion happening throughtout the horse.




A way and possibly the only way for the riders to find and to follow and pattern to move as one with the horse. To become one with the horse. A magical myth, the complete joining of two disparate bodies.  

The reins are yours to touch with the whisper of an angel or with the false pride of one who has yet to feel the true grace that can be found.



Course Studies

In changing directions, we are literally changing course.  Crossing over from merging with the energies of the horse, and becoming that energy, and now to direct that energy consciously.   As soon as we take up choice we become responsible for all that transgresses from this moment forward.  Authority cannot be had without responsibility.  The two are joined, two different sides of the same coin.  This is the challenge you have now undertaken.  Do not take it lightly.  Be humble and forgiving of yourself though because it is a journey for all of us.






The outside yielding rein. Over three decades of teaching and it was only today when I sat down to create this series of lessons that I came to realize that I have been using a rein aid that to all extents and purposes doesn't exist.  It isn't listed anywhere.  It hasn't even been given a name.  But it is possibly the rein aid that I use the most frequently.  Other riders use it, teach it, but don't necessarily speak of it as a rein aid.  We can work on a different name.  It is ours to name, since it doesn't seem to be listed anywhere else.  Perhaps a good article would be why is it that we don't name a rein aid that gives and only list those that take.