"If you are too comfortable, it's time to move on"
One of my riding friends shared this quote: " If you are too comfortable, it's time to move on. Terrified of whats next? You are on the right track." - Susan Fales-Hill
This applies to riding and to always do better to help your horse be better. It is so easy to get comfortable and repetitious with our riding. For me, I want to keep growing and keep getting better. I have also found that horses, specifically track trained thoroughbreds, also want to keep advancing. They seem to make up unnecessary behaviors when they become overly comfortable with a task ( or bored). It is important to keep challenging the OTTB brain, even if it means going outside of the riders comfort zone.
But be careful as thoroughbreds tend to be thinner skinned than other equines thus can be more reactive to a riders seat and hands. If a rider is starting a green TB or an OTTB, and said rider does not have a balanced seat, the OTTB can often be easily offended and negative behaviors come out, which can often be challenging to correct. The average rider wants to be able to go to the barn without the fear of being spooked off, bucked off , spun off or run away with. Who can blame them! Riding should be enjoyable! But if we 'teach' our horses bad habits, even it is unintentional, such behaviors can be hard to fix. Such an example is if the horse starts backing up and bucking when the rider applies the leg. The human instinct often is to take the leg off. Wrong! This just teaches the horse that if they behave in such a way, the pressure comes off. To help with not teaching the horse the incorrect behaviors, I like to work on the more difficult task in the presence of my coach. That way if there is naughty behavior, and my response is not the best, my coach can correct us immediately and set us up for success.
Then when I practice at home, I have more confidence to ask for more from my horse and be on the right track.