Sunday, 21 June 2009

Weekend of Seat, Dreams and Canter Work

There are plenty of riders out there who will tell you that if the way you ride produces good results at shows then you are doing great job and this is all that matters. As much as I like seeing horse and rider doing well at competitions I disagree with that belief. To me the horse doesn't care whether it is getting good marks at affiliated Dressage tests or whether it has an X clear rounds at Foxhunter on its record. And horses can achieve those being both badly and well ridden.
What the horse does deeply care about is how the rider sits on it and how comfortable the experience is.
This is why I am dedicated to teaching the seat before teaching the influence. This is also why some of my riders might feel they are less effective than riders who started learning at the same time but different way. They might feel they are a little passive and a little lost when it comes to controlling their horses' way of going. They should not worry though for this little longer time learning own body awareness and balance is their investment in the future of secure, harmonious and enjoyable riding years - for both parties!
With this in mind I worked on P.'s upper body balance at her Saturday morning lessons. Her natural way of sitting on a chair is how she also naturally sits on a horse (top photo). She can sit well (bottom photo) but it requires conscious effort. Her homework is to try to sit straighter off the horse and see how that improves her on horse position.

Pics. above: Slouching (top) and sitting up with head resting on the shoulders (bottom)

Kiran has a dream

Then I had my regular rider, Kiran, on a Training Day. Kiran has a dream. She wants to be the first Indian woman show-jumper. I haven't personally done any research on this subject but she claims Indian women are nowhere to be found in the equestrian world. Riding is seen as an inappropriate hobby or just unnecessary activity. 

So Kiran has a dream. Whether she will pursue it further than taking part in an unaffiliated show I don't know. I hope she will. Either way, after several months of polishing the very basics including a few months on the lunge, I am now introducing Kiran to 'baby jumps'. From now on she will be learning to ride to become a jumper and I will keep you posted on her progress. She rides with me once a week at one of the London's riding schools and has two Training Days each month. 
I divided her Training Programme into Sessions which in turn are divided into individual Lessons. 
Here's first video and a first go at jumping. 

Sunday Canter Theme

Since the ponies on my Sunday yard are getting fitter and more athletic I decided to go with canter work theme today. The challenge was to improve trot sitting to canter to trot sitting sequence of transitions via various exercises that riders learnt over the last couple of months. Some impressive results, they never cease to amaze me. 

Now time to relax and indulge in Ricky-made pancakes (again! yay:). 


Anonymous said...

The fundamentals are so important - so many riders rush on (or their instructors rush them) before they have the fundamentals under control, that it leaves holes in their riding forever. To truly blend with the horse's motion allows influence to be possible, not the other way around. It's great the way you teach!

Unknown said...

Totally agree :)

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