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With How Little Force?

- Tom Roberts -

I have dreams of riding with less…less equipment, less pressure, less pushing, shoving, moving, asking, doing. (side note – does this make me lazy?! )

I am conflicted that in competition horses still have to compete with bits, that owners cannot make that choice for their horse. I know I would prefer bitless for Roy and will be starting my percheron’s bitless. When will dressage update....

I’d love to see those higher movements trained with ‘less on’. I watch trainers like Alycia Burton, the Free Rider with amazement, I’m not sure I can aim for riding cross country bridleless AND saddleless (can’t do it with both of these in place!). Video's of trainers without all the gear inspire me.

I wondered, where would Roy carry his head if he had a choice? Without any interference to his head?

I was surprised to see the outcome, for a horse that goes hollow as a default. Interesting to know that he goes longer at a choice. It shows a possibility of tension with the reins and the position he is asked to hold. That his body isn’t engaging as it should to bring a nice relaxed, carrying of his head.

All sorts of questions come to mind:

- How is he being asked to carry his head position?

- What is missing for him in the riding? (It’s always the rider, that’s me in this case !)

- How can he be worked better to suit his preference – and at the same time meet the requirements for competition?

What I’d like to get to is having all the dressage movements with less. Bringing him more together in his frame with only the neckstrap...

There’s a goal!

This requires some fine tuning on my part, more classical conditioning aids (seat, voice) to move away from operant aids (pressure). Lightness, relaxation....LESS.

I know I would personally like to see the higher levels of dressage performed with ‘less on’…less spurs, less bits, less hands…less everything really….perhaps I am dreaming, but I am keen to give it a go, to ride more lazy perhaps…?

Anyone else inspired to ride lazy - with LESS?


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