Back to Basics: Shh! Riding Quiet

Biz Stamm draws a parallel between a rockin’ holiday party and the rider’s aids to help explain what it means to ride “quietly.”


This holiday season, there are bound to be many parties filled with festive music, strong drinks and good friends. The next time you attend such a party, take a second to think about the logistics of communicating in such a setting. Music is blaring, there are many other people talking and laughing and maybe you’re having trouble communicating over all that noise. You can make basic points to your friend by yelling like “I like this song!” or “want another drink?” But more complex thoughts are lost in the background chatter.

Now, let’s imagine your friend is your horse. The blaring music is your seat that hasn’t quite figured out how to move with the motion, and the conversation and laughter are your hands and legs that haven’t developed the ability to become independent from your seat. You can make basic points like “stop” and “go” with loud aids, but more complex thoughts are lost in the background chatter.

We use the word “quiet” to describe good riding for a reason. A quiet rider makes very little “noise” unless he or she has something to say, and when it comes time to communicate, a quiet rider can whisper instead of yell with the aids because there is no background chatter with which to compete. While parties are good fun, your horse will appreciate you not creating a party-like atmosphere in the saddle with your body. Instead, imagine you and your horse have found a cozy corner in the house after the party has ended where you discuss the meaning of life and the wonders of the world, because at that moment you will be experiencing both of those things.

Biz is the author of Horse Nation’s “Back to Basics” series, which follow the journey of a “somewhat ordinary” horse and rider pair as they strive for greatness. Catch up on her past columns by clicking the #BACK TO BASICS at the top of the page.

Biz Stamm is a part-time seed scientist and full-time trainer/riding instructor specializing in starting young horses for sport horse disciplines. She brings the analytical mind she developed while working in a lab to her riding and teaching, emphasizing a thorough understanding of how the horse’s body works. She currently owns two horses: the Kalvin Cycle (Kalvin), a 9-year-old half-Arabian gelding, and DB’s Alpha Helix (Helix), a 4-year-old Kiger mustang gelding. While she is currently pursuing competitive goals, her main goal is to enjoy her horses, and for her horses to enjoy her.

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