Light hand, Light Leg, Light Seat, Light everything

It’s Thursday again so it meant my weekly riding lesson. Last week we’d worked on circles but today I would be working on my position, leg, hands and overall riding style.

I entered the school and attempted to walk around, but it felt so tense and hard work. Bella was really making me work and I was tense and frustrated. She did keep taking me to jumps to, that horse is trying to tell me something.

My riding instructor spotted a lot of things I’m doing that is not helping to get Bella moving forward and therefore creating the tension between us. Instead of giving her a hard squeeze, which I have been doing, my RI asked me to change my style today. She pointed out, that over familiarity is playing its tricks on me and because I know Bella so well, I’m constantly thinking, move on pony and its creating such tension and frustration in my riding. She asked me to think about if I were riding a horse I didn’t know, would I give it such a huge squeeze to begin with? I replied no and she asked why not? I said because, it could shoot off into a gallop. I was right and she told me to think of Bella as though I’ve never ridden her before. Ask quietly and lightly and only increase the pressure if and when she ignores me. Also, I had to work hard on being still in the saddle. Apparently, I’ve been bum shuffling. How do we not realise we are doing these things but she said, whenever I would get ready to ask Bella to walk or trot, my whole body would make a move.

So, we were starting to work on hardly sitting on Bella’s back, sitting tall and ensuring all my weight was down through my legs. She also spotted that when I was sitting tall, I was tensing my arms and shoulders so we worked on loosening everything so I was moving with Bella more. Once we’d worked on those things, getting Miss Diva to walk and trot with much more forwardness was a breeze. Although I seemingly have lost my rising trot but I’m blaming Christmas and over indulgence.

I really need to get back to Pilates and start swimming. We definitely went back to basics a little today but I felt like I learnt so much to. It’s one thing knowing the theory, but another putting it into practice and truly understanding it.

I chatted to my RI about doing the BHS stage one and she said, it’d be useful to broaden my knowledge and when I mentioned the book, she suggested I read it and then decide if I want to take the exams as they can be pricey. I also shared with her my goal for the year, to do an intro dressage test which she thinks is totally achievable. So now much more practice on light seat, light leg, and becoming much more effective.

Until next time, Marie

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. RI talks a lot of sense πŸ™‚ Going back to basics is always productive – look at most of my blog posts and you’ll see that I do exactly that (although I often try to disguise it!) I’m willing to put money on the fact it’s Bella that goes with you as you ‘Enter at A’ Good for you. Lorraine

  2. Lorraine’s put it perfectly: hurray for a clever RI, and going back to basics means the foundations for everything else are so much stronger. It clearly worked! When you go back to these little things, it’s hard on the brain: it’s having to actively control actions it’s used to doing automatically, and it’s harder than most people give it credit for. With so much to actively keep in mind, as opposed to the basics being automatic and focus being on something external eg circles, it’s not surprising that one of the balls your juggling gets dropped: today it was rising trot. Believe me, it happens to everyone – don’t believe anyone arrogant enough to deny it! What a great session: hopefully it’ll set you in great stead for riding with less tension and more impulsion (especially on Miss Diva) in future πŸ™‚

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