I haven't gotten to 1-3 yet, that's okay. This is on my mind right now.
You guys know this summer has been full of breakthroughs for us. There were all kinds of ways I was self-sabotaging us and I had no idea.
But nothing has been as big as the "your hips are locked up" revelation from Nancy K has been.
If anything is the key to Dressage, at least for me, this is it. I've always had a hard time feeling the hind legs, and I've realized this past week that it's because I actually couldn't feel them before. Riding instructors, take note: I was sitting on the horse, but resisting his movement so thoroughly that I actually physically couldn't feel what was happening below me.
On Tuesday night, I was playing with my new position, my hips moving with his hind legs, my position totally relaxed. Each hind leg thrust came through my whole body; I was both moving more than ever, and more still on the horse than ever.
I asked him for a lengthening across the diagonal, and on the first one I got a "...huh?" type response. We came around, I coiled him up, and asked for another one, and he went "Oh!" and pushed off his hind legs so powerfully, it caught us both by surprise. Big pats for the right answer! And the only thing that's changed is I'm letting it happen in my body.
(Sidenote: when I told my trainer that story in my lesson on Thursday, she grinned and asked if I fell off backwards.)
Suddenly everything is easier. Things that used to feel really hard and turn me into a pretzel, like half pass, now make tons of sense.
I can see how I had to learn this lesson in order to go anywhere else in Dressage. And I'm more convinced than ever that there is no such thing as a "pretty" position in Dressage, only an effective one. How many years have I spent trying to train this horse when it was my own body that was preventing him from doing what I asked him to do?
Hope that helps, my biomechanics loving friends. In the meantime, I can't get enough saddle time right now and plan to ride all weekend. Dressage is addicting!
|Stretchy trot is actually stretchy when, you guessed it, you're not blocking your horse's energy.|