Getting Started with Contact
I see loads of posts about horses not going correctly and it’s really important that we do our best to help our horse carry us in the best way possible. But I think we should also understand that there is a reason that we don’t see masses of photos of horses going perfectly - because it’s really hard!!!
There are loads of things that have to be in place for it all to come together, your horse should...
✅ be pain free
✅ have a saddle, bridle & bit (or bitless) that fit
✅ feet in good shape
✅ teeth up to date
These are just a few things and even if we get all that right there’s still our balance, seat and hands to consider 🥴
It’s really important that we teach our horses to carry us well to the best of our ability but don’t panic if it doesn’t look perfect straight away!!
Contact is tricky!! It’s hard for the professionals as well as amateurs. Some horses take years to be able to move in a good way and if you are struggling it’s worth checking out some of the things I’ve listed above before you start re-training.
A great way to start is on the ground by teaching your horse to lunge well. You have the convenience of being on the ground so you can see your horse when they are going nicely and reward them 😇
Long reining is also brilliant as you can start to hold two reins and get your horse ready for being ridden in contact. It’s also invaluable if you have a horse that has an injury that means he can’t do circles 🚫
Lunging and long reining help teach your horse how to use the contact without being concerned about having a rider on their backs so it’s great for
✅ young horses
✅ horses that have contact problems
✅ bringing an injured horse back into fitness when their back isn’t yet strong enough to support a rider.
If you get your horse started on the ground, chances are it’ll be much easier once you get in the saddle as then you also have your own self carriage to start to think about 🤔
A lot of this has come together as it’s what I wish someone had taught me BEFORE I went to have dressage lessons.