learning to ride, hunt and show by gordon wright

I just love this guy. Subtle and perceptive.

It requires almost a lifetime of riding to acquire really educated hands, because by “educated hands” we mean hands which are fixed on the reins with a resistance exactly equal to the resistance of the horse’s mouth against them, and hands so sensitive that they can yield the very instant the horse yields to their pressure. To continue that severe a pressure in the horse’s mouth even an instant longer than is necessary is to continue a punishment after the horse has yielded.

Also kind of totally Zen in a “you will never perfect this; deal with it” way.

In riding, you have got to feel. You cannot, and you must not, look. When you look down at your horse all you will see are your own mistakes! To keep from making those mistakes, keep your eyes up and focused on some definite point or some definite object.

The book is 62 years old but could’ve been written yesterday.

Remember, it is the horse’s job to throw you forward and upward, when posting with the motion. All you do is sink down in the saddle. The forward movement of the horse will then carry you back into position. Much of getting too far out of the saddle, twisting the upper body in mid-air before coming down, collapsing on the horse’s neck, or, in the other extreme, being thrown too far back so that the legs shoot out in front of the rider, is caused by the rider’s trying to do the horse’s work for him. The horse throws you forward and upward. You sink down. The horse’s forward motion carries you back. And until then—Wait for him!

Don’t just do something! Sit there!

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