In the midst of preparing an article on how to teach the rider what they should feel when asking for the ultimate yield from the horse, an aha moment came. The awareness came that maybe this is what we are seeing when we see riders asking for a yield from the horse at any price. Maybe in the end, we are all seeking the same thing.
Interesting that understanding to a question that has haunted us for years came about as we were in the midst of preparing an article for our Volume 59, on how to teach the rider to have the correct feel of what it is like when there is complete yield from rider to horse and from horse to rider through the rein.
Trying to describe about how hypnotic, this feel becomes, the words that rose to mind was that you could almost liken it to an addiction. It becomes the standard against which every other moment of riding becomes measured against. So much so, that it we began to wonder, is this maybe where some riders might get stuck? Is this what we might be seeing from some riders? That they feel that incredible feeling of the horse yield more and more to their hands and that this feeling is so incredible addictive to them, that they will not, can not, ever agree to give up any training method that gives them this feeling? That they cannot possibly fathom how any training method that gives them even a hint of this could possibly be wrong?
Perhaps this is what we are seeing when we watch one rider, take and take and take from the horse until the horse is rolled through the neck and he is almost touching his own chest with his teeth. And we sit there shouting at the rider on our computer monitor, wondering how the rider can still be asking the horse to yield even more.
Perhaps this is what we are seeing when we watch a trainer tie up or hang onto one rein, asking the horse to bring his neck around until his mouth could almost touch the rider’s boot, and often asks the horse to hold his neck until the rider feels a complete release to the hand.
Perhaps this is what we are seeing when we see a rider ask for the horse to yield to their hand when the horse’s mouth is already gaping wide open.
Perhaps this what we are seeing when we see horses continually mouthing the bits as riders play and manipulate the reins looking for any kind of a release from their horses.
Maybe we can begin to understand that they feel something that feels good, or potentially good, that in their hearts they know exists and they really are almost desperate to find.
Hopefully the more we can understand that every rider is going for exactly the same thing, Wwestern, Eenglish, reining, or dressage, we can help riders find success, find that incredible beautiful yielding from horse to rider.
If we understand what they are going for, we can maybe help with concepts, ideas that help find what they really are looking for. Even simple concepts such as expressing how, as partnership and trust develops, brings understanding that both are key components of the true ultimate yield between horse and rider.
Ironic in a way, when you think about it, that in the search for the ultimate yield between horse and rider, that there are so many methods that ask for the horse to give first.