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What Does it Mean to "Ride Forward"? (Current freebie!)
You've probably heard the phrase a thousand times. But what does it mean exactly? It does not mean to go faster. You can "ride forward" in a downward transition from trot to halt. To ride forward, the rider must be riding the horse from their leg into their hand. The rider should send the horse from the driving aids, the leg and the seat, into the receiving contact. This is true for any movement or transition.
Any backward pull on the reins, or even having a contact with no leg on whatsoever, means that the rider is not riding forward, but riding backwards, no matter what speed the horse is going at that moment.
Why is it so important that we always ride forward? It's the only way that the horse will ever become resistance free, and travel correctly with the energy moving through its supple body into the rider's hand.
It can be especially hard for someone who rides a forward going or strong horse to believe that they need to ride forward! But it really is key to a resistance free, correctly moving horse.
You may have also heard the terms riding from "back to front" and from "front to back". These are parallel to those above. With riding from back to front meaning that the rider rides forward from their leg and seat into their hand. And riding from front to back meaning that the rider is using their hands to artificially "shape" the front end of the horse, as well as to slow and stop him.
Only the horse that is truly ridden forward from back to front will ever give their rider the lovely feeling of throughness, with the circle of energy permeating throughout it's body.