“The more you use your reins, the less they use their brains.”
In other words: don’t micromanage. Any living being constantly being ordered around won’t have a mind of their own. So ideally, equipment such as ropes, whips, halters, leashes, and so on, should be used as back up. We want to keep the first initiation light, sensitive, and clear. Only when we get no response do we follow through with picking up the slack in a leash, lead rope, or reins.
Especially when we ride. It’s no fun riding a horse that feels like a ton of bricks in your hands. I’ve felt that and I’ve also felt the complete opposite from my horse. I had my horse to where I could ride with nothing on his head, like Pat with Salty above. All I would need to do to turn left or right was turn my belly button in the favored direction. Coming to a stop only required me to exhale – sometimes I would find myself simply thinking of stopping and he screeched to a halt.
When we are not controlling every movement our animals make, and allowing them to think for themselves instead, we can experience a lightness like never before. Try to tap into their mind, instead of yanking on the leash.
For example: When you ride, look where you want to go, slowly turn your body that direction, use your legs, and then use your reins to follow through. Eventually you’ll go to look, turn, and your horse thinks, “Oh, now she’s going to pick up the reins… I’ll just turn now.” And they do! Over time you’ll find yourself doing less and less and getting more and more. You’re giving your animal lightness, and they’re returning the favor.