Tightening The Cinch

I usually ride with a pretty loose cinch. It gets me in trouble sometimes.

I’ve accidentally roped things. That I would ever actually catch something came as a shock to me. Figuring out what to do with the rope then became an even bigger shock.

Rusty’s occasional small explosions keep that loose cinch interesting too. He’s a very well behaved horse, with a ton of buried energy. Sometimes it stays well hidden and I think I have a slow lazy horse. Other times he is bursting at the seams with vibrating energy that can barely be contained, small things that never usually bother him become terrifying. On those days it’s best to get off and tighten my cinch.

He isn’t bad. I would never call Rusty’s behavior bad. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t make riding a little more challenging. When we need to take on those greater challenges with our horses, the place to start to help them find a calmer place is by being able to be calm ourselves. When I’m having to grab mane and worry about my balance and the saddle staying put, I’m not at my calm best.

That need, for our calm best, doesn’t change no matter what our horses are worried about. We can’t help our horses not to be upset if we are upset. With Rusty when he needs help calming down I step off and tighten my cinch. That helps me find security and shrug off worry.

The steps we take to find a safe comfortable place to work from will change depending on what our horses are worried about. Sometimes we let ourselves be put in a place that isn’t safe for us to deal with our horses out of habit. It can be hard to remember to tighten that cinch if we aren’t used to doing it. We forget that ‘normal’ doesn’t have to stay normal for us. Sometimes because of the expectations of others. Toughen up, get out there and show that horse whose boss. If you get off now the horse will have won! Who hasn’t heard those before.

Getting off can be embarrassing, but it is never a bad idea. It isn’t true that the horse has won or that you will have taught them to misbehave. Keeping yourself safe is an important thing to do when a horse is scared!

What do you do when your horse is afraid? Do you have a method you use to calm yourself when your horse gets worried?

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