Friday, October 9, 2009
and I am so loving the armpit thing.
Ha! It sounds funny right? But seriously, for whatever reason, Linda's explanation on Septemeber's Savvy Club* Dvd (I think it'll be on Octobers in more detail) of pulling our armpit back and a little downwards to curve our body on the circle just clicked for me! yahoo!
Lil is so sensitive about everything I do when riding. When I get it wrong she tightens, (she still tries now when i'm getting it wrong. which is great because she used to just say "forget it") when I get it right she just effortlessly does whatever we're attempting.
I wasn't sure exactly why this is working so well particularly at the canter. I learned (from an olympian) to sit on my outside hip, put my inside leg a little forward and ask for the canter. Pat congruently talks about thinking of boxing with the right or left hand leading corresponding to whichever lead I want. This has always made sense because it puts me exactly in the aforementioned position.
However, shaping my horse on a circle seems to require a little adjustment. Which does make sense considering I need to do in my body what I want my horse to do in her body. And on a circle if she curves correctly, her outside foreleg is reaching around in front of her inside foreleg. So if I'm leading with my inside shoulder...in that instance, I'm out of sinc.
When asking for shoulder-in or haunches-in or whatever I know to do in my upper body what I want her to do and also in my lower body what I want her to do. But, I haven't been applying that to a canter circle. Duh.
So as we were cantering around yesterday, I was just feeling it as I pulled my inside armpit a little backwards and down. Linda also talked about stretching into my inside stirrup whilst staying centered with my balance. As I was doing this I could feel that my inside hip was forward as it should be, and it felt more...um...connected. However I describe it, it was working for Lil.
I'm thinking that my hips were actually doing what I wanted hers to do! I needed them to come a tiny bit to the inside. (or we could say towards the leading side or a little thought of haunches-in) Pulling my inside armpit back instead of thinking about stretching it forwards and up with my outside shoulder made all the difference. ALL THE DIFFERENCE!
So there we were cantering on a 20m circle, and I can feel that my hips are going kind of one way and my upper body is curved the otherway. Of course this works only when it makes a whole curve. So my torso needed to gently connect the two, melding inside to outside elastically. Which seemed to correspond to my horse's ribcage.
Also, as we know riding is an active thing. So as we're going around was mirroring her. Its not like my body just stayed stiff like that. In those moments, I was really fluid, it was like my hips, and upper body respectively, were moving with hers. When it seemed all to be in harmony, the diagonal of my body actually matched the diagonal of the canter! Well, whaddaya know.
Anyway, Lil was happy. And of course this made me happy. REALLY HAPPY. It has been a challenge for her to find balance, impulsion and relaxation in the canter. It got better first Online*, then at Liberty*, then Freestyle* and now shaping it a little in Finesse*, is just falling into place.
Linda talks about how if we're getting it, it shouldn't take that long to make a change. Who knew she'd be right again. lol. So funny that just a different description of the bio mechanics I needed in my body...did the trick. This is why I just shake my head in confusion when people criticize Pat and Linda for just regurgitating information. I say, "tell me again! say it differently! now tell me again? show me... show me with a different horse. . . can I see you teaching it to someone else...show me again?"
So, we just did a few laps each way. It felt amazing. Then I wanted to work on walk-trot transitions because those have been a little funky....but I didn't. I got off. Yay for me!