My Hunter Jumper personality rears it’s ugly head Er, no offense to all you H/J riders out there but I changed disciplines. I’m a Dressage Diva now. (Yeah, right.) <cough> OK, let’s rephrase that. Make that Dressage Diva Wannabe. Hey, is there a level for that? I think Wannabe Level would be perfect for all us adult amateurs changing disciplines.

Oops, I’ve digressed.

My upper body was very forward during my dressage lesson. My back was arched and my bum was stuck out behind me like tail feathers. I was falling forward onto my crotch (ouch! I felt that later). That meant that my core muscles weren’t engaged. (Core muscles!? What core muscles? Oops, off topic again.) This all lead to closed hips and mixed messages. Posting with a closed hip prevents the horse from coming forward into my hands. <sigh> Go forward but not really. My horse hollowed out in response and being a mare looked…well, marish. (Is that a word?) Oh, and my thighs were gripping due to this mess.

feathersAnd that wasn’t all…my 20 meter circles continue to be the bane of my existence. I’m soooo frustrated that I gave some serious thought to quiting. As usual I ended up with my inside leg turning so that my toes are out and the back of my calf and heel are against the horse. (The toes of my inside leg should turn in slightly to indicate the turn and to keep my hips open. Think of knocked knees.) My inside hip ends up moving back instead of being forward and my upper body twists as I then try to pull my horse around the circle with the inside rein. Bad. All bad.

We moved on to sitting trot to get me thinking of sitting more upright and vertical. I experimented with how things felt if I moved too far forward, into a correct balanced position or too far back. In both the too far forward and back position my thighs would grip to make up for my compromised balance. In the correct vertical position my legs hung down the sides of the horse and my hips were open and flexible, absorbing the movement from side to side, up and down. Because my hips were open I had nice breathing legs and I could use my inside leg to outside rein for better connection. Every so often I had absolute lightness and it was perfect. Then my brain would kick in, I’d start to THINK about it (bad) and everything spiraled downhill. I need to stop thinking and just go with feel. Thinking gets me into all kinds of trouble.

Quiet.

Stillness.

Zen         like       peace.

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