Lesson Wrap-Up: Hips and Core

Warning: I had a hard time processing last night's lesson, so this is unusually wordy and devoid of pictures.  This is my brain on paper.  TL;DR: Rode from my core without stirrups and cool things happened.

Connor started out flat and lethargic for my lesson.  My trainer asked to see a few trot-walk-trot transitions, and mentioned that it looked like he was moving off my leg fine, but his hind end wasn't connected to the front end, or my core.  So the rest of the lesson was about core control, because (we've heard this before) he needs to be very in tune with my core so that the other aids are free to do other things besides keep him from getting flat and runny.

I've talked before about how I do/my trainer asks for very little no-stirrups work, and when we do drop our stirrups, it's always as a means to an end.  Almost all of last night's lesson was no stirrups work so that I was sitting more evenly and not bracing with that right leg, since weight and core were the focus.

Early morning chores from a few weeks ago

"We need to set the tone of the trot from the transition.  I feel like he gets out in front of you most of the time and races off."

To work on that, we asked for walk-trot transitions by lifting my hips and core up and forward.  As I understood what she said, in the walk, the rider's hips are sliding back and forth, but when you ask for the trot like this, suddenly that motion changes because you lengthen the muscles on the front of your body and lift both hips forward.  I was to "just keep the leg there" and if he didn't respond to the hip/core change, to bump him gently with my legs to be like "Hey, you were supposed to do something there!"

It took many many tries, and we had to gradually lessen the leg aids, but finally we got one transition where it almost felt like he sat down and then hesitated as he moved into this beautiful compressed trot.  The next one after that went back to being mediocre, but hey!  I felt what it was supposed to feel like.

Next up was canter transitions using my core.  I was to slide my inside hip forward and lengthen my inside ribcage (or "lift the inside boob!") to ask for the canter.  It was interesting to feel what else happened when I slid my inside hip forward, and why that gets translated into "outside leg".  The transition was a lot more "up" when I asked with the sliding inside hip.

Finally, we did figure 8's at the sitting trot, no stirrups.  By this point I was getting more relaxed through my body with the no stirrups work (or was that fatigue?!)  and I was really sitting with his motion.  The most interesting "new feeling" of the day was when she told me to push the new inside hip forward as we changed the bend and moved onto the new direction's circle in the middle of the figure 8.  He was so smooth with the bend change when I did that, and more balanced/less motorcycley with his body.  She explained why that happened when I was doing it, but I was so distracted with the feeling that I can't remember what she said.

14 comments:

  1. Sounds like an awesome lesson! I used to ride with a trainer who had me ask for the trot in a similar way. My mare is super sensitive and rushes all.the.time so she would have me get her nice and collected in walk and then simply "stretch up" and it was like she'd lift right up with me into trot!! Such a cool feeling :)

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    1. It is a very cool feeling. We've touched on it before in the past, but not like this!

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  2. WELCOME TO THE MAGICAL WORLD OF USING YOUR SEAT! Isn't it like you've just gained a new superpower?!

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    1. It will be! We've done things like this before in the past but never this intensely. Hopefully it sticks this time!

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  3. I'm going to have to try those techniques! Sounds awesome!

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  4. Sounds like a breakthrough and a very good lesson!

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    1. It was, it was a good first one back in two weeks!

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  5. Fascinating. Someday my horse will be broke enough to do those things. :-)

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    1. Yes he will! But in the meantime, enjoy the journey, no matter where in the journey you are.

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  6. Great lesson recap - I took notes to try with Riva :)

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  7. That is the start of getting him to be a sports car. DaVinci has that and it is so awesome. Love the moments you are getting!

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