Eventing Shorts: Listen for the Clicks

Photo courtesy of Amy Nelson. Photo courtesy of Amy Nelson.

Riding a horse is like breaking into a safe. Just “Listen for the clicks.”

“How do I get him in a frame?” “How do I get him balanced?” “How do you know what a horse already knows?”

I listen. I feel it. They tell me. There’s no simple “Do XYZ” answer in any of this. I guess as a horse trainer I’d consider myself a safe-cracker. Have you ever seen a movie where a criminal breaks into a safe by listening to it with his ear up to the padlock? He turns the dial until he hears the pin drop in when he’s on the correct number. Then he turns and listens for the next number, and so on.

Maybe your leg falls in a different spot, or my legs are stronger, or you sit more upright.

Every rider is DIFFERENT. Every horse is different. There’s no set exact way to get these results.

The more you practice, the more you FEEL your horse and pay attention to what you do to get a certain result, the easier it will be to break into the safe.

As a coach I tell my students I will tell you when the safe if wide open. It’s your job to listen for the clicks.

Amy Nelson has been riding hunter/jumpers and eventers for 25 years and is based in Rochester, IL.  She retrains OTTBs, problem horses, and trains eventers at her own show barn, Hummingbird Stables.  She competes with OTTBs in upper level eventing, has qualified for the AECs at many levels, and has competed in the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover.  Her goals are to compete at the one-star level this year, and eventually four-star. You can follow Amy on Facebook here and on Instagram at @amynelsoneventer.