Taking the Lead

Riding a horse is a dance, and just like dancing with another person, there needs to be a leader and a follower. Traditionally the man is the leader with the woman as a follower. I love to dance but I have always had a little trouble when I dance with a man because I don't like to be led around, I like to decide! haha. When you ride a horse you must make the transition to being the dance leader, aka; the man! If you take the role of follower you will always feel slightly out of control and "along for the ride" rather than making the decisions. Because the horse is a herd animal he is always looking for security through leadership. Horses that are spooky or difficult to ride are normally insecure in the role of leader and follower. To become the leader you must first be in BALANCE! Can you imagine dancing with someone who kept pulling you forward and back, jerking you around the dance floor! Finding your balance requires finding your floor, you must ride the horse with the same alignment that you have while standing on the ground. Then you must use your "center" to guide your partner. Upon the horse this is your seat, your number one way to communicate. This is why the old masters would use descriptions such as "advance the waist" or "engage your seat to your hands". Try to imagine you seat creating the flow of the dance, determining all the changes of direction and changes of pace. Easier said then done but sometimes the right imagery can really help a rider develop a better feel. So the next time you ride, picture a beautiful dancer in your mind and feel that same sense of poise and grace on the horse! Happy riding!