June 14, 2021

Lesson Wrap-Up: Good Ol' MW Biomechanics

On Friday evening I hauled Connor to Cincinnati for an overnight stay at GP trainer's and a lesson. We had intended to do two back to back lessons, but I didn't feel like I could take that much time off work.

With - lol - a legit Haflinger stabled next to him


Pretty quickly after we got started, she asked me to halt him in front of her. "He's going so well right now, we get to work on you," she said. "That's a good thing!" This is why I love her - she manages to make me feel like we've made progress milliseconds before she drops the next thing on me.

I mean, he really is genuinely going well lately.

She pointed out that I've over-corrected from the rider I was when I first met her and Mary Wanless just over two years ago. Instead of having an arched back and a perching position, I was now riding with a rounded lower back (something I couldn't even do before Pilates!) and my chest "caved in". 

Chest caved in

"I can count on one hand the number of times I've had to tell this to someone because this is such a rare postural fault in Dressage riders, but you need to stick your boobs out!" She put her fingers on my torso just underneath my bra line and asked me to push her fingers forward.

Mary Wanless people love teaching by touching, and I learn best by having my body parts literally picked up and put in the right place. Maybe it was fate that I fell in with this style of teaching, lol

As soon as I started riding like that, it was like OH WOW she was very right. If I rode like I had been riding, I felt like I was against Connor, but if I rode with my sternum pushed forward, I felt with him.

"Pushing her fingers forward" later in the ride


With that in place, we played with a bunch of stuff, including HI/SI at the trot and canter serpentines. Sometimes we asked for the simple in the middle a la 2-2, and sometimes we counter cantered on through, a la 2-3.

This is NOT every simple change for us, but we at least get one this good a few times a ride.

Interestingly, she had me take my outside leg reeeeeally far back and up in the counter canter - but not actively on - in order to keep him straighter and more honest through that movement, and it helped a ton. Felt weird as hell, but hey.

We feel really, really ready for the show next weekend. Bring it on!


  1. Oh hi! Welcome to my problem lol the fix becomes the new thing to fix XD

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! That halt got cheers from the small group of spectators and felt very good.

  3. Your simple changes make my heart flutter just a bit!
    You both look awesome!