My new boyfriend is an Arab. His name is Snoopy or Snoop Dog as I call him. He’s a horse. 🙂

After quite a few false starts, I’m finally riding. I’m very much at the beginning stages but I’m learning on Snoopy who is the world’s most chilled out, laid back horse. He’s just the right height for me too; around 14.2 hands high.

A good Kiwi mate is teaching me how to ride and I’m not learning with all the horrid metal bits, bridles and heavy saddles. I’m learning to ride using a rope halter and a treeless saddle. Snoopy prefers the very lightest of touches. My saddle is a Barefoot Saddle (called Cherokee) which I bought from Equinz. It was custom-made in Germany from Nubuck leather and is a cherry pink and black leather combination.

I’ve come to the view that a rope halter allows for better communication between you and your horse. Better than a metal bit and bridle. I also think that a horse can feel pain with the use of a bit. A lot of people “break-in” a horse, then get on it and start riding whilst probably praying to the horse gods that they don’t get thrown off. But what you really need to do is spend time schooling your horse and getting it to understand what you are asking it to do. This requires a form of communication the horse will respond to positively and I’ve found the rope halter provides this.

If you use a rope halter with a very long lead rope (12’), and use pressure/release signals, you can train your horse very effectively. My great challenge has been to master dexterity with the rope halter – I’m still not as fluid with it as I’d like to be. But, as they say, practice makes perfect.

The real bonus is that I’m finding the rope halter gives better contact with and control of your horse. The knots in the halter can be used as specific pressure points and, by using the lead rope, you guide and direct your horse through these pressure points.

A lot more lessons and riding ahead of me but at least I’m finally on a horse!

My fabulous saddle.

Yes, believe it or not: that's me on a horse, Snoopy.

Me and Snoopy in action - well, sedately riding around in the arena. We have since been out around the district.