March 11, 2016

Lesson Wrap-Up: Positional Cues and S-I Magic

I'll spare you guys the long-winded lesson recap today and try to summarize, even though (because?) I'm bursting on the inside with how good it was.

Look, a real live picture of me riding my horse from Tuesday!  Courtesy of FBR.

It was better than last week and last week was great.  This week, we really focused on my position in the shoulder-in, and it made a huge difference.

She gave me a couple of positional cues that really helped:
- Align your whole body toward A or C on the long side like you're going across the diagonal but don't let him travel toward A and C.
- Fill out your lower back
- Carry left elbow closer to body and wrist almost cocked out, to compensate for my wandering left hand and encourage better left bend

I added one of my own that really helped: look at A and C down the entire side, rather than down at Connor.  (Duh, I know.)

Selfie time!

He was also just a bit spicy, and between that, my better position, and a strong focus on his balance and straightness, we got the following compliments:
- "Most effortless sitting trot I've ever seen out of you"
- "Excellent bend"

Aligning my whole body toward A and C had the biggest effect in the bend.  Before, I was aligning most of my body that way, but not really my outside leg.  Once I, you know, put my outside leg on him, he straightened up and really had to step under with the inside hind.  This was hard work for him, and he let me know by being extra spicy - and extra on my aids, so suck it up, pony!

Hard to get a picture of him without his ears up.  That's just who he is.

Filling out my lower back made the biggest difference in the way he went.  He started to make his transitions up instead of forward, which felt REALLY cool.  He also slowed his cadence at the trot and really shifted his weight back over the hind legs - not a feeling I get to experience all the time.

JK on what I said last time, it is totally possible to take non flattering pictures of this place this time of year.
More more more, I want more of that!


  1. So wonderful!!! Those kinds of rides make dressage addictive!!

  2. The concept of "filling out your lower back" is interesting, and does the same thing (as I try it in my chair) for me as the image of bringing the front of my pelvis up. How many ways is there to say this, lol!

    1. Dozens! And I doubt 'bringing the front of my pelvis up' would've worked for me. I find that a lot - my trainer says something one way, I think about it another way and have much more success. But I always try to tell her when that happens, she can't read my mind.

  3. OMG, you have no idea how envious I am right now...
    (and super stoked, all at the same time!!)

    1. Hey, good to see a comment from you! It's been a while. Hope you're both doing well!

  4. Looking up is the hardest though :(

    1. Word. Why is it so much easier to look down??

  5. oooooh great tidbit about aligning with a or c! i've been trying to turn my shoulders in with the horse... but kinda get a little lost (esp as we get closer to the corners)

  6. Sounds like an awesome lesson! Love getting compliments, those are great ones :)

  7. Yes to what Emma said - I do the well as look down at my horse...

    Great tips!