I remembered something else from last Saturday's clinic that I wanted to discuss. A young Tennessee Walker spent most of the clinic chomping nervously and noisily on his bit. The owner had been holding the reins slightly collected, even when stopped. I had the impression she was worried the horse would take off if she let go of the reins.
Near the end of the clinic, Bryce suggested that she give that horse a loose rein. She loosened them somewhat and the chomping slowed down. She loosened them even more and the chomping stopped entirely. The horse lowered his head and became a picture of relaxation. I think he started to fall asleep!
Yesterday was one of the first times in a while I spent some time really working with Piper. I like riding with a loose rein, but I've taught her to ride collected up as it seems to help her gait. For some reason though, yesterday she was flipping her head quite a bit. I remembered the horse at the clinic and promptly "threw away the reins." Piper immediately relaxed into a calmer lope and stopped tossing her head.
Moral of the story? Sometimes you've just got to "Let It Go!"