Have you ever tried to chew gum while walking, patting your head and rubbing your tummy all at the same time? Well riding’s a lot like that. It can all be done but the minute you concentrate on only one thing something else slips away.

If I think about my half-halts, my hands instantly become busier and I broadcast it loud and clear instead of an invisible squeezing of the rein and holding of the seat. My horse no longer wants to come down into my hand, where it will get jabbed by the bit.

When I hear “get the forward, then ride the poll down,” my legs achieve the forward but I forget about my arms. They’ve straightened and I’ve lost the elastic contact with the bit. I can’t manhandle and force the poll down. I need to ride the poll down.

When my horse spooks, I forget to keep my body back and my hands quiet. When I fall forward I grab with my legs to keep my balance and my noisy hands tell the horse there is something to worry about.

Learning the art of dressage will take me countless years and an endless number of circles. As I progress in my riding I need to be constantly aware of my body and it’s effect on my equine partner. It may not be pretty or technically correct yet but with training I believe all of the separate pieces will come together into one whole.

Fleetingly, I can achieve harmony with my horse and the world melts away.

I have the forward but my I lost the straight line from bit to elbow. My alignment is pretty good but my heel has come up. Buttons looks like she's leaning into the turn and not bent around my inside leg. My eyes are looking at the corner instead of at what's coming up.

I have the forward but I've lost the straight line from bit to elbow. My alignment is pretty good but my heel has come up. Buttons looks like she's leaning into the turn and not bent around my inside leg. My eyes are looking at the corner instead of at what's coming up.

Buttons is trotting in a nice relaxed frame. I see that my heel and leg have come up as I'm using the inside leg to outside rein aid. This has compromised my upper body and from this angle I look like I've fallen forward.

Buttons is trotting in a nice relaxed frame. I see that my heel and leg have come up as I'm using the inside leg to outside rein aid. This has compromised my upper body and from this angle I look like I've fallen forward.

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