The series continues...I have a lot of homework!
Hopefully these posts will help me remember everything.
Use my good side to help train my weak side.
are doing so well going right, my teacher encouraged me to ride a couple
circles to the right to find the feeling and then go to the left. Only
stay on the left circle once and then return to the right to
reestablish "north". If I was really having trouble finding or keeping
the straightness in my body, then she suggested that I only travel to
the left for half a circle before returning to the right. I thought
this was some interesting advice. I have read about the importance of
not only riding your horse on his easier side. This does nothing
for his more difficult (stiffer) direction. But what if your horse's
easier side happens to be his "stiffer" side? Harley is not really
stiff going right, but it is his "stiffer" side. He is flexible enough
when traveling right, but the real strength is that he is more easily
made straight. The left side is his more bendy side (and my more
bendy side!). In fact, it is too flexible, which makes if very easy
for both of us to collapse. This makes his left side the more difficult
direction to ride, because it is the more difficult direction to find
true straightness. He can fool me into thinking that it is easier,
because he goes on the bit easily and flexes to the left more easily,
but our balance is tenuous until we can align ourselves laterally.
Longitudinal balance follows shortly thereafter.
a strong habit of collapsing in the left direction. It feels normal or
comfortable to me when I let my left ribcage sink toward my hip. This
offsets my weight onto my right seat bone, which also feels normal to me
and inviting to Harley to do a flying change onto the left lead if I
happen to collapse left while in canter right. This is more likely to
happen on a straight line, which explains why he likes to throw those
changes in on the long sides of the arena. This also explains why it
would be more difficult for him to flying change from left to right
canter. If I am collapsed left when I am hoping for the change, neither
of us is in the right balance or position to do so. My teacher
explained that correct practice was the only thing worth our time.
Repeating several collapsed left circles would only serve to un-train
Harley and my own body. If I want to re-circuit my habits, I need to
make every repetition as correct as possible. Look to what we do well
and use it to improve our left direction work. She warned that
"perfectionists" and dressage riders alike tend to focus too much on
what is being done poorly, which is why she gave us permission to use