Since Dragon and I started back under saddle this spring, we have been working further on single rein riding. Single rein riding, as opposed to riding on two reins/contact, helps the horse learn to maintain the position you suggest for them on their own. This is called “self-carriage” – a term most dressage riders are familiar with but perhaps not totally confident about. It certainly is difficult to know if your horse is in true self-carriage if you constantly ride on two reins basically holding your horse in position. And it’s harder for your horse to understand as well. Single rein riding is new to me, so I am still learning with Dragon. Surprisingly, our rides are still significantly better then they ever were when we were riding on contact.
We both have a lot to learn but the process is a lot of fun and we’re both enjoying ourselves. Below is a short clip of Dragon learning to mobilize his shoulders. Being able to move your shoulders is an important component for upper level work because it’s necessary for lateral work. And lateral work is necessary to teach the horse collection. I’m still working on perfecting my rein mechanics, but it’s still a nice clip of a fairly organized moment between us.