One of the keys to horseback riding is a remarkably logical mantra: “Let the horse do its work.” Obviously, it takes a huge amount of effort to get a thousand-pound animal to do its work, but it’s important to know that you can’t do it for him or her. You can’t jump the fences or pick up your hooves. Like in any partnership, you need to trust your partner to do their part, and they must trust you to do yours.
Many horses get into the habit of “dragging” on the reins, because many riders are willing to try and “hold their horse up”. Since a horse’s head can be as heavy as your entire body, this is obviously not the best distribution of duties. Let the horse do its work – and support it with short, light bursts of encouragement. That sort of encouragement is much more potent than simple raw strength of muscle. Horses are heavy. You can’t lift them. They have to WANT to jump. As a rider, you need to remind them that working hard does feel good, and jumpin is fun.
Just like a horse can’t jump while leaning on two leather reins, a bird can’t fly by pulling down on the clouds. She needs to want to join them on their own level – and she needs to find her way there on her own will before she can fly.