One-rein riding with confidence

Today was my third ride since my official commitment to one-rein riding, for reals.

Years ago when I first tried the one-rein thing, I went into panic mode as soon as I mounted, so I stopped forcing it and tied my rope around the halter loop to make two reins, although I tried to use only one at a time.

Partly this panic was due to my own lost confidence, which I have since found.¬†Partly it was due to Rocky, who felt adrift and nervous about Freestyle and who calmed with contact — what Linda now teaches as the “steady rein” — so the combination of our anxieties made for a spooky situation.

Linda Parelli committed to three months of riding with just one rein, to break her habit of clutching two reins and creating brace. Learn about that and other important riding stuff in her article How to Ride Like a Leader.

I find that this time, riding one-reined without fear, I am more conscious of my body movements (or stiffness!) and position than I was with two reins, where I think I was paying a lot of attention to Not Grabbing. I’m also doing a better job of having the energy in my body that I want Rocky to have in his, and in moving my body with his instead of bracing against it.

I am more tuned in to how I ask Rocky to do things. In particular, I’m seeing improvement in simple things like moving forward and following the rail. I also feel like I have a better sense of when Rocky is anxious and when he’s disrespectful, so that I can respond appropriately, either with “let me help you refocus, good boy” or “nice try, thank you for the opportunity to reinforce my leadership, who’s your mommy, oh yeah.”

If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong. – Pat Parelli

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