Hunting for the Hindquarters

Sometimes, I feel like a one trick pony.  My answer to multiple horse/rider problems… “ride the hindquarters.”   That’s become my personal mantra, too.   But, I didn’t invent this answer. 

Quoting from Tom Dorrance’s book, True Unity, Willing Communication Between Horse and Human: 
“The rider needs to get to the point where he realizes how important the hind quarters are; if they aren’t working just right, he may notice it more in the front end, but they both have to work, and each one has to complement the other.  The problem may show to the rider more in front.  It seems to appear that way to most people.  It is important to get caught up on this or the rider may not get it.”
“This is the goal: when you reach, or you let him know, he shapes up and the whole horse is all together-balanced.  It seems to me, until a person gets this, he is going to be struggling with a lot of things.  This is basic.”

“It’s basic?”  Basic, often elusive and a path to so much more.

Riding Solo, my gangly and green four year old, the importance of riding the hindquarters is obvious.  Solo is a spectacular horse, who can look truly geeky.  Check this out (first photo).  Now, who would buy a horse that looks like this?   Me, evidently.  In this first photo, Solo is happy.  He’s got nice bounce in his steps.  But his hindquarters are bouncing along behind him.  His shoulders are dropped.  His back is hollow.  He’s definitely hard to sit, when he’s this out of balance.  To correct the situation, I’m reaching for the inside (left rein), asking the inside hind to swing under.    In this photo series, watch Solo change his balance.  He tries hard.  He steps under, but his stride gets short.  Then, he lengthens his steps and flattens his stride.  But, it doesn’t take him long to put it all together.   (To advance photos in sequence, click on arrow, right side, large photo.)
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 The last photo in this series is where Solo ended this ride.   He felt great to me and he felt great about himself, too. 
More to come… 

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