Sunday, May 22, 2011

Change Is Fun

I love teaching. I love seeing a happy rider and especially a happy horse. I love sharing my knowledge to help the rider change their body often a very tiny change and seeing big changes with the horse. Here is a story of my last clinic in Santa Rosa where both rider and horse were smiling after the lesson.
This rider is a very strong fearless jumper rider who is now doing dressage with an ex jumper horse about 15 years old. He is extremely sensitive and prone to melt downs. She wanted to  improve her seat to ride him  more effectively. Her main issue was that she tended to push her legs forward, especially the left one . This caused her hot horse to shoot forward on his forehand. In canter it was even more apparent. We worked hard for 2 days and get her legs under her hips. On the third day we tackled the canter.To help her change this pattern , I had her get off her horse and practice canter on the ground. The canter pattern is more clear when you canter yourself . Remember how you cantered around as a child on your stick horse. You would step on your back leg and immediately lift your front knee up. This feels like a skip. You just repeat this over and over and to change leads you switch leg positions.
We took that feel back on the horse. It took her a while not to push her inside leg forward, and to instead just sit on her outside seat bone, put the  outside leg back and lift her inside knee up when she asked for the depart. He went from leaping into the canter and having to be controlled with a very strong rein to softly lifting himself up to the canter,because he did not feel pushed or shoved into the canter. By the end of the lesson she did 2 perfect canter walk transitions off her seat with no hands . Change the rider a little get big changes in the horse. We all had big smiles: me,my rider and her horse. That is why I love teaching.
This student was super fun to teach. She was very receptive to trying new things and really enjoyed the journey.
Erica Poseley