We hear this often and it is used to describe how a horse “goes”. How they move, how they ride in a general sense.
But how many people know what “going well” actually entails?
Just because your horse moves when you give the proper aid, doesn’t mean it is going well or moving well.
Just because they will go over a jump, doesn’t mean they’re going well.
Just because they don’t flip over on you or rear/buck during every ride, doesn’t mean they’re going well.
Going well means the body is able to function properly without hindrance. It means more than the legs moving forward, going well defines the posture, symmetry, cadence, balance, straightness, the quality of movement, the soundness of mind, the overall balance and harmony of horse and rider.
To go well, the horse is able to move freely in the shoulder, have no pressure in the lumbar which causes the back to drop, is carrying the well-distributed weight of the rider on the longissimus dorsi and not on any ligaments, tendons, nerves or bone, the pelvis is able to tuck with the flexion of the abdominal muscles, bringing the legs underneath for the beginning stages of self carriage. The base of the neck will begin to rise and the nose is never behind the vertical, the neck is soft and supple without being held in a fixed position, the horse lifts in the back and lands softly with his feet. There is no tripping, no feeling like the horse stepped into a hole, no dropped back, no hunters bump, muscle atrophy, stiffness, abnormal gait, tension or resistance.
That is what it means to go well.
Anything else, is just going.