It’s becoming more and more clear to me that we all seem to struggle with the same issues. Take for instance a nice following arm. I haven’t had one. No, my arms liked to move separately in time with each hip. I looked more like a jogger on horseback then a dressage rider. Not anymore though, I’ve finally figured it out! My arms are a unified pair moving with the horse’s mouth. Forward and back, forward and back…

Hmm, unless I’m nervous. Then all bets are off and I’m jogging outta here!

Thank you for joining us. We’ll return to your regularly scheduled program already in progress.

“But my arms don’t do that!” laments my friend.

“Yes, they do.” I ride up beside her and at a walk demonstrate my following arm. “Just open and close your elbows. Open and close. Open and close.”

“Like this?!” She quickly opens and closes her elbows several times. Thankfully, she has loops in the reins as I’m watching them fly back and forth.

“You’re exaggerating it a bit but yes, like that.” Isn’t it the simplest answers that seem so hard to grasp?

“Yes! That’s right!” Our instructor is practically jumping up and down with glee. “Thank you Lee. Just make out your check to her instead of me today.” We continue walking around the arena. Open and close. Open and close. “OK, now you need to insert the ‘I’m cool’ part. As you’re walking your hips need to move in time with the horse. Coming forward one at a time between your arms. Uh, think you’re The Fonz.”

“The Fonz? I think I know him.” My friend’s a lot younger. Like twenty years younger.

“The Fonz? Nah, Pinky Tuscadero.” I always thought that The Fonz was cool but I am a woman. I want to be a cool woman.

“Ah, Pinkie.” A boarder and my instructor both laugh. “Now we’re showing our age.”

“Pinkie who?” I told you she was younger.

“You need to use a following arm and walk like you’re really cool. I’m cool, uh-huh. I’m cool.”

Pinkie and The Fonz

A bit later

We’re walking to our cars and I’m practicing my swagger. “I’m cool, uh-huh. I’m cool.” Open and close, while walking and swinging one hip forward at a time. Hey this should be a dance!

Updated 12/6/10 with a video to demonstrate a following arm