Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 2 Centered Riding Instructor’s Course

June 11, 2009

Day 2. I feel comfortable with what I am doing. I am enjoying learning new techniques. Applying what I am learning seems very natural for me to do. I am enjoying developing a better team between me and my horse. My instructor, Peggy, is an awesome teacher!

Today, we are learning about “Dynamic Motion”. Balance in Motion. We work on the “Following Seat” and feeling our seat bones. We concentrate on feeling the lift in the horse’s back and the backward pedaling motion as the hind legs move. As riders work on their balance, they need to help the horse find the horse’s balance. As rider’s tighten up, horses tighten up and lose their balance. Horses can shut down by slowing down or speeding up when out of balance.

We look at our balance through our “Building Blocks”. Our Building Blocks is our (skeletal) alignment. Our joints in our legs are “Springs” and are our shock absorbers. We work on receiving flexibility in our 3 joints, the ankle, knee and hip.

(Did you know that horses do not have a collar bone? Therefore, the shoulder blade is not attached bone to bone, but by ligaments, tendons, and muscles to the front leg).

The atlas joint is at the first cervical vertebrae. The head sits on the atlas joint. If we put our fingers in our ears, the atlas joint is between our fingers, deep inside our head. Can you believe our head is 12-14#s, which is the weight of a fairly heavy bowling ball!

We talked about the Alexander Techniques, which promote Good Balance. Take a “pause” before doing something, Slow down and half halt yourself! Constantly check in with yourself, and slow down!

We took a short break and worked on the mini trampolines. We worked on walking our knees and feeling the movement in the 3 joints. Allow the movement - don’t force it!

We did a strange thing during our riding sessions today! We worked on a Franklin technique. We sat on 2 Franklin balls, one under each seat bone. After riding around like that for about 10 minutes, we removed the balls. You can’t believe how deep in the saddle you felt. It was an amazing feeling!

We worked on “Dancing Knees”. While in 2 point position, we let, allow, the movement of the horse to move our knees and legs. We worked on relaxing and letting the horse move the leg joints.

We then found our neutral pelvis and found our balance point. We were taught to hip release our self, by reaching back behind our leg and pulling our leg back a little. Remember, small steps in moving the leg and stretching out the hip.

We practiced the “Trot in 3 seats”. Posting, 2 Point, and Sitting the trot. We posted first to get in motion with the horse. Then we 2 pointed for about 7 strides, sat for 2 strides and allowed the sitting trot to move us back up into the post. If you totally relaxed at the sitting trot, the horse’s movement really pushes you up into the post. We concentrated on having a good sitting trot, and keeping the horse’s back up by having a good driving seat.

During the ride session, it was important to have some quiet time to work the horse and allow the rider to take in what they are learning. Recognize when you have the feel and when you lose the feel. Learn how to get the feel back!

Use the left brain, thinking and problem solvingside and the right brain, the creative side. Put the rider into the right brain mode through the use of images. Realize what the image looks like, why it looks like that, and what it does to the horse. Sally Swift said, “Let this stuff cook and stew!”

Remember, this is a journey and take the time to enjoy the process! Come along on the ride with me!

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