Sunday, 17 May 2015

Day 135 & 136: Shoulder-in and switching on senses

Day 135: Friday



One of the easiest ways to understand what happens during shoulder-in is to go on all fours in your living room and walk it as if you were a horse. Do with your body what you know the horse's body is required to do and notice what you need to do with your weight through each knee and each shoulder, how you manage to travel forwards yet somewhat sideways and how the energy flows within your body.

Go for at least 7-8 steps and if your living room isn't big enough, well, you might want to give your neighbours something to talk about during birthday parties and do some all-fours games in your garden.

Now, if you can ride a beautiful, balanced shoulder-in with great benefit to your horse please feel free to completely disregard the outrageous advice above ;)

Day 136: Saturday 

My current travel book companion is a spy thriller Kolymsky Heights. A very unique novel, brilliantly written and very hard to put down! Just as Porter, the main character and the spy extraordinaire, arrived into icy chill of Siberia, my train pulled into a little windy Ealing Broadway.
Thankfully, the weather for today's training sessions wasn't as critical for me as it was for Mr Spy (minus freaking fifty degrees celsius over there) and we had some really interesting learning experiences.

The big jumping field is finally open for play so I will be starting the jump training with the young riders in a fortnight. I have one more session sets planned for them to work on some technical aspects of their riding before we set off into an open space.

The warmer aura also allows for some enjoyable practical sessions so we played with the awareness of balance and the feel for half-halt using each other and poles on the ground...


It takes time to go over these details but it really is worth it. Sometimes riders have their light bulb moments straight away, sometimes many months later but there is never a question of if/whether a better awareness leads to better riding but when :)

Switching off particular senses or instincts in order to switch on different ones is one of my favourite areas of training. A simple act of removing a bridle and encouraging the rider to connect with the horse through weight aids, seat and legs can be a very powerful and empowering experience. Below is one of my young riders at Foundation Programme having a go at 20m circles, serpentines, changes of direction - she did fantastically well on a wilful little mare by planning in advance and turning the horse's neck rather than head...



Wx

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