1. Think about your back being connected to the reins while maintaining your upper body erect in the shape of a “D” rather than a “C” with your Ischia bones centered over the 14th/15th thoracic vertebrae
  2. Think about your hips being connected to the horse’s hind legs
  3. Imagine a cushion of air between your hands and your stomach that you do not want to either deflate or inflate
  4. Rather than thinking about “contact” with the bit, always think about just “feeling” the bit in your hands. If you feel the bit then the horse will feel your hands and this will provide a sense of security for him
  5. Once you have a “feel” of the bit just maintain that connection. That is all the rein that the horse can have – no more and no less
  6. Hands should be kept quiet but “with life” in them – not still and rigid or loosely “flopping” around. The degree of steadiness of your hands is an indication of the degree to which you have attained an independent seat
  7. Don’t let your hands override your legs
  8. Thought combined with purpose will give the horse direction. So develop a lesson plan, prepare to execute it BUT adapt it to fit the changing situation as the horse presents it to you
  9. The more you squeeze the horse with your legs the more “life” you will squeeze out of him because you will constrict his ability to fully breathe – besides making him “dull to the aids” with constant pressure
  10. Give the horse time to think about and digest new things that are presented to him. The best teacher for understanding the horse is right underneath you. Listen to and respect what he has to say to you


  1. The more times you leave the saddle and hit the ground the better your groundwork will get
  2. You can’t fix problems from beneath the ground – so stay alive!