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Self-Carriage: Grace Without Brace

In part one of his 2019 series, Josh Nicol explains what self-carriage means, how to achieve it and why when you do, it’s like floating on a cloud.

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By: Josh Nichol |

There is an extremely important aspect of horsemanship that is critical for both the mental and physical well-being of the horse – and for real connection when riding – yet which is often misunderstood, if it is even on our radar at all. I’m talking about self-carriage, which I define as a mental and physical unity allowing the horse to use his own body correctly in movement, with little or no human input. You’ve probably seen horses demonstrating beautiful self-carriage while moving freely out in the pasture or paddock. They almost seem to float, traveling with a power and grace that we would love to duplicate under saddle. Unfortunately, many horses are unable to attain true self-carriage under saddle, most often because their riders don’t really understand what needs to happen to help their horses get there. In fact, what many riders believe they should do to promote self-carriage and…

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