Saturday, June 12, 2010

....playing in my 7th session with Nigel and "The Game of Contact".

Direct youtube link.

Ok so here is my understanding of Linda's explanation: We make a GAME about who takes the contact. So if Nigel doesn't want it. . .I'll take it. ...until he says "hey! i'll take that". I say, "great! you can have it! i'll just hold your hand".

I use my biceps (think dumbbell curls) to take the contact and my triceps (along the back of my upper arms) to push forwards following the contact when he wants it and rounds his lower back. When he can carry himself I try to remember to pull my armpits down and hold the contact with my triceps.

In the video when I'm calling out "biceps" I'm taking the contact because Nigel is sucking behind my leg (losing self propulsion) or over curling his neck...or bracing somewhere etc. When I'm calling out "triceps" I feel him round over his topline, drive forward from behind and take the contact forwards. I said lifting of Zone 4* in the video but I meant Zone 3*. The push and impulsion come from Zone 4.

As you can see when the push really comes from behind his shoulders lift up more and his trot gets floatier and more forward. His whole stride gets longer and I really notice the outside front leg looks like it suddenly is softer and reaches up and around the turn almost effortlessly.

Nigel is on the cusp of a Left Brained Introvert/Left Brained Extrovert ...forward is not always his favorite but when he figures out what we're playing he's got LOTS!

I think its worth noting that this is not about vertical flexion at the poll. (although this can't really happen without it) Its about the horse using his whole body to power forward and lift... and hold the contact through the reins. The contact between the bit and the rider's hand completes the cycle of the energy. (Walter Zettl calls it Schwung. The cycle comes from the horse's hind legs, over his back, between his ears, through the reins to the riders hands, through the rider's body, down the rider's legs and then again into the horse's hind leg. If the contact gets dropped by either the horse or human....the cycle is broken.

This is Nigel and I's 7ths session playing this game since Linda's article was published.

You can read Linda's article on The Game of Contact in the May 2010 issue of the Savvy Times in the Parelli Savvy Club Vault under "back issues". To join the club (which has been such an important part of my journey and I believe an awesome tool to help us change the world for horses and humans) click join.


  1. What a great video - you can see the 'floatiness' when he gets it...

    Fabulous place you live in and nice arena!

    Jane from NZ

  2. Isn't that cool? I'm so excited about it. He is able to hold it more and more now. :)

    Thanks about our place Jane. Its a work in progress. But I love it here.

  3. Great to see a student so committed to Finesse riding... now that the mental and emotional fitness are beginning to happen, you can focus on the physical aspect, and of course developing your understanding of Finesse!

    I really like it that you've noticed that physical Finesse STARTS from zone 4, and not the other way around. I think this concept is often misunderstood, with many riders thinking that finesse/dressage riding starts from 'putting the horse in an outline' ie zones 1 and 2.

    Kerrin Koetsier
    Parelli Central

  4. Hi Kerrin!

    oh so misunderstood!to the detriment of the rider's sanity and of course the poor horse. i've been helping quite a few of my friends (the ones who are at the end of L3)with this. omg! how many of us have had tears... its one thing to "get the concept" and another to be able to bridge the gap into manifesting the result.

    i kept asking linda: "what did you say??? that made such a huge difference????" her answer was: "make it a game". could it really be just that????

    on the rfdtv show last night linda was talking about putting things into simple terms that seem so obvious once she mills them out. ai yi yi. even after all these years of being a linda student, this one blew my mind.

  5. i suppose i should have made it clear that these have been happy tears.