What we see in the competitive arena are collected movements that look like collection, act like collection, are called collection and scored as though they are collection, but there is that vital thing missing – the reality of collection.
I caught this one on my way out the door for the day, and it put a smile on my face. Simple, easy, enjoyable. Reminded me of starting my first horse, minus two blondes… Oh, and for those that think this is a dig at the hair pigment challenged… fyi, I’m a (natural) blonde myself.
I am happy to see a report coming to the public that addresses the downward spiral of Thoroughbreds in racing here in the USA. I am not a large supporter of the Thoroughbred racing industry, long have I seen it as being money motivated as the primary with the horse falling to the wayside as a disposable commodity. I am very happy to hear the round-table discussion going on that addresses factors such as not putting the horse first among other ideas… check it out for yourself.
Voice it! Say what you are thinking. I know, we’ve been made to believe that talking to ourselves is a bad thing, but at least we are taking that magical thought out of our heads for a moment. Talking to other people who will not support negative thinking is a great way to break the habit as well. Hanging around with people who share your negative thoughts is an excellent way to keep you stuck in the habit.
We find fears with the horse. He moves too fast or too slowly. He turns the wrong way or doesn’t turn at all. We want him to be caught easily, when he runs away rampantly. He bucks when we want an easy ride, or pulls back in the cross-ties. Perhaps we want to be successful in competition, while our horse refuses to polish just the way we want?
The essential ingredient in a horse who develops into a well balanced, collected, light horse with a beautiful and correct head position.. is forward. We all hear it told from instructors and riders alike, “MORE FORWARD!” What does that mean? What is forward?
Circular, that is time. We live in a world dominated by linear functions, our calendar reads left to right, start to finish. There is little left of the cycles we once relied upon as a species to guide our functions from day to day, week to week, month to month, season to season, year to year. Instead we rely upon days, minutes, hours… seconds, to remind us of the time we have lost or wasted, or perhaps the time we have saved.
What does it mean to be a weak rider? Is it the inability to hold the correct posture and position in the saddle? Is it the lack of strength in the aids to apply them correctly and productively? What if weak riding were not a bad thing, but a highly sought after reality?
When we are in the pursuit of knowledge, attempting to glean it from every viable source, it helps always to know whose definition of equitation we are gleaning that knowledge from. For many they answer number one to different reasons – money, ego, curiosity. What is the *best* definition of equitation?
Anyone want to take a challenge with me? To ride with only 5 grams? Bring yourself to feel pressure, and move away slowly, release that pressure, focusing on the beat of the heart or the lungs, or the dura.
Hyperflexion has found it’s way into almost every barn and stable, through the simple lack of awareness to it’s presence. From english to western, and even the ‘classicists’ of dressage. It is a loss of the horse’s posture. Why is that?
Lightness comes in part with the advent of relaxation. Lightness relies on movement, constant movement. Lightness is the result of the mental, emotional and physical aspects between horse and rider reaching harmony.
In particular I want to draw attention to RK’s legs… they are quiet, they are subtle. In the extended trot we get a beautiful view of these as the horse approaches almost directly towards the camera. Compare this to modern olympic riders and you will see a stark difference.
Pressure is what we experience every day of our lives, either self-imposed or given to us by those around us and in our lives. For the horse it is a little simpler, from our perspective anyhow, the horse does not take ‘home’ pressure from the rider or trainer when the session is over.
The bend I refer to is that of specifically the neck and generally the entire body. The bend is one of four factors I consider in the working of the horse, that are rules so to speak and guidelines.
Go into any barn during lessons and you’ll often hear some combination of a few choice phrases describing the use of the leg aids. In the simplicity of these descriptions however, it is easy to be left confused, frustrated or just ineffective.