A Lesson with Marcy

Today I got to sit in briefly on a lesson at NRHA Open Futurity Reserve Champion Marcy Ver Meer’s barn, Bar Double C Ranch. In Ver Meer’s program, every part of the rider’s body is analyzed for its efficiency. From the rider’s rein hand, to the elbow, to the hips, knees, and lower leg: they all have a role to play in cueing the horse.

Ver Meer explains that being an effective rider means you only use the body parts you need to cue your horse, without overemphasizing too much with your body.

Horses can be amazingly light creatures, when the rider is very conscious of how he or she is sitting, or using their hips, or picking up on the reins, or applying the lower leg to the horse’s barrel.


“Ride deep in saddle and open up your pelvis wide through your belly, so you can sit deep. Always remember – sit deep and wide. That will enable you to ride with your hamstrings and not just your inner thighs,” she says. Ver Meer also elaborates that from the knee down, you want to concentrate on making your legs as long as possible so your heels can go down and get below the horse’s belly, keeping your spurs from hitting the horse unintentionally.

“Most of the time, I’ll cue with my achilles heel or lower calf because that’s all I need. I don’t cue with my spur unless I’m chastising or correcting the horse,” she says.
When sitting correctly, the rider should feel their butt bones or “pin” bones as they are often referred to, in constant contact with the saddle seat. And when you have to drive the horse up into the bridle, your pockets should end up rolling underneath you to make you stronger and more effective. One analogy Ver Meer uses with her students is to try and get the rider to lope around and hold their knees off of the saddle until the point at which “daylight can be seen between the legs and the saddle.” It should feel as though the rider is floating around on the horse’s back.


And just because it\’s Tuesday and I feel like it, the first 3 people who send in their comments to this post will win a lovely Ver Meer hat. Adorning Marcy\’s 230 score and her \”Ride Like A Girl\” motto, chapeaus like this are certain to turn heads.



14 thoughts on “A Lesson with Marcy”

  1. Andrea Hokanson

    Fantastic stuff, love the information on using all you body parts to become a more effective rider, this stretches across all disciplines

  2. Amanda Kellogg

    Great blog Jen! Those are the points Marcy definitely emphasizes on! haha! Great photography by the way!

  3. stacey huska

    (not sure if my previous comment went thru. i had a poor internet connection.

    thanks jenn for the great article. its always great to get insight on how the pros ride. never quit learning. always reaching…
    stacey huska

  4. Judy Greenall

    Jenn..I love your blog..it’s how I start my morning!
    Pin bones in the saddle..everbody laughs at the dents in my seat..maybe that’s just because I am little on the skinny side..but I get her point!

  5. Jenn,
    Your blogs are very enjoyable to read, and I love all the pictures! Congrats and I’m glad that you and Clay are enjoying yourselves!

  6. Leslie Janssen

    Loved the information in your blog and how amazing it was for you to sit in on the lesson

  7. Nice introduction to Marcy – we get the honour of having her come up to Sherwood Park in a few weeks. Looking forward to it.

  8. Nancy Pratch

    Thoroughly enjoying reading about your adventures! I am excited about attending the Marcy clinic first weekend in May! 🙂

  9. Great article. Very interesting I just got back from Riding at TCA ( Arena at Midale, Sask.) Our coach Faith MacDonald has just been telling us to stretch our legs long and keep our heels down. Sitting down in the saddle has helped me also. It is great to get to hear advice from Marcy Ver Meer.

  10. Mary-Anne Van Degna

    Great job Jen
    Marcy’s technique and philosophy are a win win for riders.
    I have learned so much from riding with her.
    The true gift is FINALLY learning to feel my horse.
    Building his confidence in me and at the same I am building confidence in myself.
    Now we need a Marcy Ver Meer video series!!!!
    Anyone out there a film maker?

  11. Christie "empress" Mogel

    Excellent information. As a long time client of Marcy’s, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy other people’s recognition of one of the most talented riders in the world. Her teaching skills are exceptional – and she is always with you and behind you, no matter what. I am positive she has eyes in the back of her head! If you want to be a horseman – not just a passenger, stick with Marcy. “Feel” is not just a dream, it is a reality.

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