“Riding For The Unconsciously Incompetent”
This title certainly applies to me, and really all of us from time to time. I never realized it before but because I was  unconsciously incompetent about so many things with regard to my horse and riding, it “fed my fear”. 

I’m from Brooklyn, New York and had never been around a horse until I started riding in my 60’s.   I didn’t know that a horse had a face, let alone facial expressions! I was strictly an arena rider for years and trail riding petrified me even though I had great Missouri Fox Trotter horses. For the last 4 years, my husband Waland and I have been studying Western Dressage with our trainer, Claudia Coley.  I can’t believe time has gone by so fast and now I actually ENJOY trail riding our beautiful gaited horses.

Before shot

I had to  learn the difference between knowledge and feel. Knowledge is power and feel is intuition. Conscious  competence or right analysis can conquer fear, and feel can get you out out of trouble before it starts. Here’s an example. My discipline of choice for the past several years has been Western Dressage. In the beginning stages of learning, up to and including Level 1, it is really all about attaining really good horsemanship. Your horse becomes more balanced responsive to your aids, so being consciously competent and feel can get you out of trouble before it starts.  This is an example of how it can help. Your going down the trail. and on the way back to the barn (you know what’s coming) your horse speeds up more and more. If your feel is dull and your aids are heavy you will be one rein stopping, or worse, you may get yourself into a bolt situation. I know I have.  Have you ever had to drop a rein so you could  pull hard enough on one side and use your leg to stop? This definitely isn’t fun, but good news is, this isn’t how I feel today. I feel she is not on my seat.   I tell her to slow down with my body and by briefly closing my outside rein, I have nipped the problem in the bud. Developing feel and being able to control a situation in several ways has given me a great deal of confidence and my horse is happier too!

Waland and I, along with our Dressage Trainer Claudia Coley, will be leaving for the WDAA Judges Training Conference in Colorado on Wednesday and I can’t wait to learn more!

See more on J.J.’s Sweet Dream (Diva) and all her accomplishments on Foxtrot Urbane at https://foxtroturbane.com/j-j-s-sweet-dream-missouri-fox-trotter/

-Lynne Burger-

Lynne and her husband Waland, own Big Barn Ranch in Stockton, Missouri where they host events and have weekly Western Dressage lessons for them and others to come and learn. Check them out at https://www.bigbarnranch.com/