Flat Attack

Flat Attack

It should be no secret to y’all that my horse and I have some work to do on the flat. How he is easier to jump than he is to hack is a mystery to me for sure! After the last show when I didn’t even try to do the under saddle classes, I knew it was time to get down to business on improving this situation.


When my friend was visiting, she flatted Simon and made him look like a total pro. We also discussed some of the issues I’ve been having and her opinion about where they came from. To me, Simon seems like the more work he gets the more worked up he is. She interpreted this more as being really really “tuned in” to what the rider was doing. Since lord knows I am no pro, it makes sense that when he moves from ‘la la la whatever mode’ to ‘oh I am so listening mode’ the mistakes I make on the flat get exaggerated.


Essentially, I can ride my horse really well when he’s in ‘wtfever I’m a school horse’ mode but not when he’s a ‘sporty sporty sporthorse’.

Even before she rode last week, the plan was to get some private lessons with my awesome trainer to fix my issues. Today was the first of those lessons, and we did a bit of flat and then some jumping.


On the flat, the big take aways I had was that I need to be more versatile with my outside rein. When he wants to drop his shoulder and cut in, I need to move it an inch away from his neck on the outside and ask for the inside bend with my inside leg and rein. When he wants to bulge to the outside in a turn, I need to use that rein to block the shoulder and hold him in.

Otherwise it was a lot of the invaluable advice you get from a private lesson. Put your leg here. Open your shoulders now. The quick advice was really helpful for me, and will give me some things to work on when I hack on my own.

So for now the plan is for my hack days to ride Simon like I really mean it. WIth contact, lots of corners and lateral work and bending. I need to stop babying him every ride and pretending he’s a school horse, because he’s not a school horse and he isn’t going to magically have the buttons I need at the show if I don’t work to put them on him!


I’ll leave y’all with a photo that I’m absolutely in love with. We had a family photo shoot with Simon, Tim and myself Sunday afternoon and I’m so thrilled. Will share all the details in a post next week when I get all the pictures! I’m on vacation from Weds – Sunday so have some fun posts in the queue for y’all.

14 thoughts on “Flat Attack

  1. Oh the photos are absolutely gorgeous!!

    And sometimes its hard when it’s your own horse to finally say, okay, you’re old enough and ready to handle this, so I’m going to ask more of you, and then make them do it, ha. He looks great in that first photo though so its definitely deep down in there! And the more show miles you get the better- I’m sure when you’re tensing up at shows it’s not helping. I had this one horse at an IHSA show where, the first day, the faster he got, the more tense I got, the more I held, etc, and it was a disaster. He actually ran off with someone in the second class. I drew him again the second day, and thought, hell, I’m just going to throw away the reins and let him do what he wants- completely different horse, and I got first. Not suggesting throwing away the reins, just saying it’s crazy how much our body language (tense vs. relaxed) really reads into the horse! Good luck 🙂

      1. you can do it! I know you guys are going to rock it 🙂 You’ve even got me wanting to take little wiz to a hunter show… which will hopefully be happening sometime soonish

  2. What great photos! He’s always beautiful, but he looks like a pro here! I suffer from the same thing though, especially after all the stress from normal life…you want to have a “fun ride” not a “let’s go accomplish something ride”.

  3. A few things that help me on the flat:

    Turn the bus, not the 18-wheeler. You don’t want so much bend in the neck that you are jack-knifing around the corner.

    Think about pushing around the corner with your leg, not turning with your hands. My horses have a tendency to bulge to the right because my left leg is stronger and I ride pretty one-sided. When I try to stop steering so much and using my outside leg to block or push around the corner, it helps me get around the corner more correctly.

    Your horse is so cute!!!

  4. Flatting is no joke, especially at a show. Two things that always help me: 1) don’t forget your game face (just because flatting isn’t as hard for me as jumping, doesn’t mean I can go into the ring and be lackadaisical) and 2) make friends with your horse (don’t pick a fight unless you absolutely have to and don’t expect him to go around exactly like he does at home)

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