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Get to, Got to...what does this mean? Fiona Darling Seven Keys Horsemanship

Updated: Aug 25

In the weekly Savvy Club Member minute posted on 22nd Aug 2020 and titled “Got to, Get to, Bridling” Linda Parelli coaches Courtney with Gani on how to help him in feeling comfortable and willing to accept the bit without the incentive of food. This is another great Member Minute savvy tip from Linda and something people can play with when too muddy to ride, as it is here in wintery Victoria right now, or when people only have a smaller window of time to play and progress with their horse. I see this as a good idea for everyone to develop or test that they have with their horse and also as a good preparatory for The Game of Contact.

Watching this video had me thinking that it might be helpful to review the concept of the Get to, Got to and the difference between each of these elements.

Within the video Linda explained the Get to as bridling with a treat involved such as a carrot or molasses on the bit and the Got to as bridling with it being the horse’s idea to take the bit into their mouth without any treat involved.


From my understanding the Get to is achieving a task when such things as safety, time or the availability of treats, especially for the LBI, are not an issue or concern and the Got to is when any of these are an issue or concern.


Another example of the Get to, Got to concept would be in the delivery of the control rein using lateral flexion. The Get to would be in the teaching and the developing as a second nature the Control rein taking the time it takes to offer it in such a way that the horse responds positively to feel safe, calm, comfortable and connected with relaxation. The Got to would be using the Control rein in a pressured "Oh no" emergency situation to interrupt a negative pattern with safety and control in mind. You might like to think of it as the Get to being consciously competent and the Got to being unconsciously competent. The Get to Control rein in practising so that you can depend on it when you need it as a default (preselected option) in the Got to Control rein.


A further example of the Get to versus the Got to would be the Direct and Indirect reins in asking your horse to turn left or right with the 4 phases of eyes, belly button, leg, rein (or carrot stick, or carrot stick then rein) in mind.

The Direct rein communicates to the horse to look and step with the front legs in the direction of the rider’s focus with the HQs remaining engaged and the horse able to maintain gait. This is a direct way of asking the horse to turn left or right.

The Indirect rein disengages the HQs therefore taking power away and causing the horse to transition down in gaits also moving the hind legs of the horse away from the intended direction of travel and as a result positioning the horse’s FQ in the intended direction the rider has in mind to go. This is an indirect way of asking the horse to turn left or right.

The Direct rein for turning left or right allows the horse to remain engaged and maintain gait = Get to.

Indirect rein to turn left or right causes the horse to disengage their HQ and transition down a gait/s = Got to. The Indirect rein is used if the rider wants to both turn and transition down and importantly as the next step as a default if the horse ignores the direct rein and/or for safety to regain leadership, control, calmness and connection.

For more detailed information about the Direct and Indirect reins go to the Savvy Club Library Level 1 Partnership (the red pack) Pocket Guides Level 2 Prep Guide.


To join the Parelli Savvy club go via the link https://share.parelli.com/a/member/a93


Picture of Fiona with Annie preparing for an Indirect rein .


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