The morning lesson encompassed the following ideas:
Three important areas for the rider to be aware of are
1) Core. Think of your core as a corset that wraps around your middle.
2) Scapular stabilizers. Engage the scapular stabilizers by thinking of your shoulders going out very wide and back.
3) Pectoral muscles (in front) and lat muscles (in back) form the "armpit" muscles. Push your elbows down to access the armpit muscles.
The forearm should go in a straight line to the bit; the upper arm should be vertical. Keeping your elbows down and bent keeps your forearm in a straight line and your hands up to a straight line to the bit.
At the walk you must have roundness and oscillation.
There should be NO MOVEMENT OF THE WRIST while riding. The wrist should be in a "frozen" line to the bit.
The shoulders should be wide and low and armpits pushing the elbows down. Keep your upper arm vertical. Think "wide shoulders sloping down" or "shoulders wide and low" with armpits pushing your elbows so strongly down that your elbows don't swing and your elbows could make furrows in the dirt.
Never shorten the reins more than 1 inch at a time.
Your wrist should remain flat, or push your bottom wrist bone down so the leading part of your hand is the knuckle of your ring finger.
When the upper back goes slack, that is a clear indication there is no body perception on the rider's part.
When giving the reins (uberstreichen): it is a quick, sudden give to a loop in the rein AND simultaneously get your shoulders wider, lower, and your armpits deeper. Giving the rein takes MORE work, not less. KEEP your armpit tone and upper back tone when giving the rein (uberstreichen). Carry your own arm even when giving the rein, and push down with your elbow.
Horses cannot pull on the reins- only we can. To prevent pulling the reins, keep the shoulders lower and your armpits lower as you give the uberstreichen. By "armpits down" Jeff means "keep tone in your armpits (your pecs and lats)."
If Delphi pops up and goes bracey on the reins, I should push my elbows down harder, wait for her to give, then reward and release by giving the rein in a quick uberstreichen.
In the afternoon lesson we learned the following:
If you are still and stable with your arms and hands the horse can self reward. That means if the horse relaxes it can take the pressure off. Do this by keeping your elbows down and your armpit muscles engaged constantly until there is give on the horse's part, then make uberstreichen to allow the horse to self reward. Encourage the horse to experiment, then set up situations where they will discover they can make their lives easier. Mistakes will happen, and that's okay. Mistakes can be: you don't give, or you don't give soon enough, or you give but the rein does not go completely slack; these are all mistakes. A DISASTER would be letting your armpit muscles lose tone, losing your shoulder spread, or losing tone in you core; all disasters that are NOT ok.
Get all of the above (armpits, shoulders wide, down and back, and engaged core) very well organized. You can then approach tricks and movements as a way to test whether all of these can still be done within the tricks and movements.
When Delphi pops up with her head and neck, I should respond with armpits and shoulders down, not back. A hard down, not a gentle stretch but a grunter- very aggressive- to avoid the tendency to pull and be pulled; it will disengage the tendency to pull on one another.
Pretty soon constant grunt and effort becomes less effort.
When the armpits, scapular stabilizers, and core are in the correct position it is normal to adjust the reins by shortening or lengthening them while riding. The reins do not necessarily stay at a fixed length for the entire ride. Shortening the reins (no more than one inch at a time) can establish true flexion or counter flexion by a slight shortening of either rein.
At the canter:
Be very ready to give a quick reward of the rein.
The canter is a non-reciprocating asymmetrical gait. The two legs come forward together causing a rocking action. The pivot point for the hindleg changes from the hip joint (in trot) to the lumbosacral joint in canter. Delphi lacks some of that: causing a "quity" canter, worsened still by a rider (that would be me) that is "humping and pushing" and thereby pulling some of the rocking motion out of the canter, making it feel like the horse is always hanging back.
At the canter, the rider's dynamic should be back and forth (not up and down), with the two points of stability for the canter being 1) stirrups and 2) thorax (or breastbone, or collar bone, or skewer through your shoulders) which does not lean or wobble back and forth or rotate.
Avoid shoving forward or "driving" with the seat. Keep your thorax stable relative to the horse (or pommel). From the bottom of your shoulder blades you arch and reach back and your seat goes far back in the saddle and then you go passive to come forward, NEVER PUSH FORWARD. Your pubic bone does not go past your breastbone. Use an active, arching reach back then passively come forward; then before the canter stride ends you actively reach back to help keep the horse on the haunches rather than on the forehand.
The aid for canter: stabilize yourself (use no leg in an ideal world) and the outside seat bone goes back and across to the inside and turn your sagital plane out a little bit.
In canter the knee has to slither back with the seat and get your bottom out behind you, but NO driving seat. If you must "drive" do so by kicking with one leg only, tap with the whip, or cluck.
My crotch should reach so far back that it reaches the top of the cantel. When I did this the canter had more bound and more roundness. For awhile I need to be very exaggerated about reaching back with my seat in canter.
Never let your hands break the line from elbow to bit. If you must ere, ere on the side of the hands being too high.
Unlock the thighs and knees and cluck, whip, or kick with one leg rather than driving with the seat. Reach back with the seat to the cantel. Start the reach back early in the stride proactively, while the coming forward of the pelvis is passive. Reach back with your seat sooner in the canter stride, and the shoulders should not fall behind the pelvis. Keep your breastbone out over the pommel; the canter then gets a little more amplitude: scope, range, and reach.
Even when you think you're softly going with the canter, you must stop your seat from driving forward and start the next active reach back BEFORE your seat drives the horse down on the forehand. Exaggerate the reach back and forbid the driving seat in canter.
Should start out as a leg yield tail to the wall. At walk, start with leg yield tail to the wall, then get the neck perfectly aligned between the two reins and keep your elbows down until she makes the same experiment of relaxing. Practice the shoulder in at the walk first. When you can do many strides at the walk on a loose rein, try it at the trot.
Move the horse at the leg yield on a diagonal across the ring as well as down the long side; when the horse is in very good self carriage-- round, arched, and the uberstreichen is working-- then you try the trot after the horse is in light self carriage and round.
Monday, March 15, 2010
The morning lesson encompassed the following ideas: