Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lateral Flexing and barrel racing in Texas

Hello All,

After the daily chores, ground work and trail rides are finished our Curlies do what most every cowgirl in Texan does on a Tuesday nite - we head out to the Rodeo...or barrel race and pole bend. And, believe me when I say, Chester man, our five year old curly stallion is the shortest and curliest horse there. Seems those Quarter-horses teamed up with some Thoroughbreds and they all stand about 16.4 hands high. But, when the clock starts the size doesn't matter.

One thing I discovered; in addition to needing velcro to keep my bum in my seat:). is the horses really must have good flexion to go around those barrels. I have been told by many folks lateral flexion is an important part of training your horse in any discipline; English and Western. And...I have been reading up of lateral flexion and agree with this quote from Clinton Anderson,

“Horses have hard bodies, not hard mouths! … The mouth is nothing more than a sending station. If every body part (poll, neck, shoulder, ribcage and hips) is unwilling to yield and soften, the mouth will feel hard and unwilling to soften to your pressure on the reins. When you have your horse’s body soft and supple, the mouth will feel very light, soft and willing to give to the pressure you apply with the reins. Basically, in a nutshell, the more we bend our horse laterally, the easier he will be to control.”
Clinton Anderson
Courtesy of Natural Horse Magazine

Chester and I are so excited about our upcoming run at S & S Arena tomorrow night.  We will both doing our stretching  and lateral flexion before the clock starts.....yeehaw


  1. Angie, I just love sitting in front of my computer in Maine, reading about what y'all are doing in Texas! Barrel racing sounds like fun; you go Girl! Let us know how you make out with your Curly guy Chester on racing night.

  2. Way to go Angie!! I love Clinton Anderson, he's one of my favorites, he's got a lot of really on point thoughts and a great gift for being able to help translate what is going on and what you as the human in the relationship need to be doing.
    Good luck to you and Chester!!
    We went to a team sorting event this evening, as spectators, there was a lot of really horrid riding happening. Makes me cringe. I'm really looking forward to going with Lyra once she's off maternity leave... looks like a lot of fun, as long as I don't watch anyone else too closely. I wonder how asking them if they'd be willing to take some riding lessons would go over? ;-)

  3. Heather, oops... unfortunately, I dont think your suggestions would be well received. Some folks forget the horse is their partner!

  4. Yeah, I wouldn't actually ever open my mouth at one of these... I am very confident anything I had to say would go over like, well, a lead balloon. Maybe by example though?...unlikely even then. And I have yet to meet a horse person who likes to be told their way of doing things isn't the best way, so, really, fear not, while it's a temptation I won't say anything about it to anyone at said event. :-)


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