Soft hands make soft horses — your bit is only as good as the hands running it.

One question I get a lot as I’ve trained horses is that everybody wants to know what bit would be best for their horse, and the truth is that what I’ve learned about bits is that they’re only as good as the hands that are running them.

Much like how a basketball works very differently in my hands than in LeBron James’, your mileage will vary in bits based on how good you are with your hands. As you should have come to realize throughout these clinics, especially the showmanship, I believe in breaking things down and making them as simple as possible to identify holes in our riding and horse training.

One of the aspects of riding that I think is often overlooked is how to even go to our hands while we ride, too often I see people that are just paralyzed up there with their hands and stuck on one rein length. What I can promise you is that as my own personal horses have changed and grown, it’s that I’ve realized it’s so important to be black and white with your hands — you’re either in, working with the horse, or out, letting it practice. As I’ve stopped babysitting my horses as much, I’ve discovered a lot of holes in their progress as well as some of my own personal bad habits.

I believe that we can break down moving up and down the reins into a series of simple maneuvers that are practicable anytime, much like a hockey player would do stickhandling drills to improve their overall game. I grew up being an avid video game player, and every sports game broke player’s abilities down into an attribute score out of 100. If there were a scorecard for us as riders, it would be much easier to determine who’s bringing what to the team of coach/horse/rider.

What would your Scouting Report look like if we were to break it down? Want to improve your show results? Work on your drills and become a better teammate, identify your strengths and weaknesses and be an asset to your horse… as always, no excuses!

Scouting Report:  Jeremy LaRose

  • Overall: 87
  • Reinhandling:  92
  • Spur Accuracy:      96
  • Spur Control:          84
  • Leg Strength:          92
  • Body Control:         83
  • Endurance:             75
  • Hand Softness:       87
  • Leg Softness:           83
  • Seat Rhythm:          83
  • Shape Knowledge:  87
  • Eyes:                          91
  • Emotion Control:    98
  • Confidence:              86
  • Coachability:            88

Be honest with yourself– the quickest path to success is to stop making excuses and hold yourself accountable. We don’t blame anybody for our results in the show pen… be so good they have to use you!

Keep grinding,