Saturday Morning Muse, Read at your own Risk... Until I can ride a horse like a horse, I don't ride the horse like a reining horse or a dressage horse or any other kind of discipline...horse. A horse has got to learn to relax when I'm relaxed, and be up when I'm up. He needs to go left when *and how* I go left, go right when *and how* I go right, and stop when *and how* I stop. They need to learn to go straight under me,and not; drop, lean, and bulge shoulders or leak their hips or ribs. They need to learn to GIVE to the bridle or hackamore in the slow down, and back up. They need to move their hips, move their shoulders, and move the ribs well at a WALK, or up against a fence, before increasing speed and difficulty. They need to walk, trot, and canter on a loose rein...and you don't get there by just pitching them a loose rein either, you coach them to a loose rein. I coach them straight until they can go straight on their own, I don't hold them straight. They need to feel EASY to ride, and guide. After I have these things in order, then and only then, do I start collecting a horse. Otherwise, all you're doing is collecting a mess and containing a mess, and that has never made sense to me. All you're doing in that case is putting College expectations on top of Elementary school knowledge... skipping right over the top of Middle school and High school knowledge. Creating Harmony and Unity, is no easy task. It takes TIME, dedication, work, steadfastness, timing of softness, firmness... Mostly on the humans side, but a lot on the horse's side too. You don't climb Mount Everest by sitting at the bottom and pondering, or worse, sitting judging how others are climbing. And you have to expect some scuffs, scrapes and mistakes along the way. A proven trainer or coach is essential, we all need one or two. Get out, go do, work hard, hug your horse.