February 13, 2016

Torso Movement Lightbulb Moment

Thursday was a pretty exciting lesson.  We had the new bit to play with, and my trainer struck gold with one of the things she said to me.

She was sitting in a chair aligned with the long side watching us go away from her.  She said (paraphased, as usual), "He's still moving you laterally side to side quite a bit, and he should only be moving you forward and back.  Try this, I did this with [FBR] in her lesson earlier today and it helped her quite a bit.  Only allow your torso to move forward and back, and notice and correct any movement Connor makes that moves you from side to side."

It's so cold for my rides lately that I can't take my gloves off at all, which means no Majyk Equipe Dressage boots and no taking photos at the barn!  Here, have a picture of Rocky killing his new favorite foraging toy.

The instant I thought about "forward and back only" in the torso (right rein, going straight), I clearly and immediately felt the left hind trailing behind the right one.

Guys!  I have never distinctively felt a hind leg like that before!  It was amazing.  I was so startled by how much my feel changed, I didn't make an attempt to fix the trailing hind leg for a little while.  I just sat there and felt things I had never felt or noticed before.

From last weekend, the day after that nice outdoor ride I had...

When I did start making adjustments based on what I felt, to close the "corridor" in which Connor moves and tell him to carry my body (and thus, his body) our lesson really started to get good.  And of course, that also played into how good the bit felt I'm sure, which is why yesterday's review was punctuated with all kinds of asterisks.  
Also from last weekend (still in the KK)

I think what has been happening is that even though I am definitely sitting more centered in the saddle these days and am adjusting the lateral movement of his back from my pelvis, I was still following him too much with my upper body, whose movement is affected by more than just his back.

When I consciously thought about both of our bodies moving straight, that's when my feel changed. It sounds so simple, but what I thought was straight in my torso before was, in reality, heading in seven different directions at once, and the new feel and knowledge gave me so much control over Connor's body.

 Cool stuff!  I can't wait to play with this more.

What I do on conference calls: piss off Nick's dog by making him lay next to me on the floor so I can brush him.  Shedding season has begun!


  1. Very interesting. Will have to steal this bit of training advice for myself!

  2. huh now i must try this too!! i've never really been able to feel the hind legs in any kind of isolated way either - perhaps this will help me too!

  3. Hmm, super interesting! The way a horse moves a human on its back is something I'm familiar with in a therapeutic riding context, but I've never thought of applying some of that to dressage work!

  4. Ok this is something I'm dying to try now! Congrats on the lightbulb!
    Rebecca (backinthetack.wordpress.com)