Clinics in British Columbia
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Sunday, October 10, 2010 09:48 PM
In the middle of September I gave two back-to-back clinics in British Columbia. I had a great time visiting friends and working with very enthusiastic riders who are hungry for knowledge and dedicated to improve themselves to help their horses. Even though there were many things we worked on a few stood out. I want to share them with you.
"Pumping with a ribcage" at the trot - This mistake is commonly seen in good riders. They do not feel that they have problems sitting the trot and they often feel the need to "help" the horse. If upper body and lower body are not well connected the upper body has inertia and this inertia slows down the ribcage and shoulders compare to the hips. Ribcage is slightly left behind and front of the rider lengthens. In the next moment ribcage comes back. However, the tempo of the ribcage is slower then actual tempo of the trot. I had this mistake myself and I never could ride Frances Tibok in good sitting trot because he would start slowing down on me creating almost passage-like trot. Now I know, he was simply reacting to me. Very often riders start to add to the movement of their ribcage in an effort to create more animated trot. This extra effort creates a look of "pumping ribcage". Riders should avoid this effect. Upper and lower bodies must not be separated in any way because even slightest delay will leave upper body behind the movement which means holding the reins to support it's balance. Ribcage stays connected to lower body through abdominal muscles, primary obliques. Well-ridden sitting trot is a workout for your abdominal muscles.
One seatbone sliding off the horse - Every one has one side of the body developed better than the other. This means that the weak side often likes to collapse. Because of this our seatbones do not stay evenly loaded and connected to the horse. One of them slides off the top of the horse. Interesting fact that riders think of this seatbone as being "heavy one". The cure is to bring this seatbone closer to the center of the horse and keep it there. Sometimes thigh on the other side must help and not allow rider's position to deviate from the center of the saddle. Riders very often find that when sliding seatbone is on inside it is more difficult to ride when it is on outside. You can find out which of your seatbones is sliding by sitting on a Physio ball. Move the ball slowly under you left and right. The side where it is harder to control the ball's movement is where your seatbone is sliding off the horse.
Shoulder-in to understand bent - This was a discovery for me. One rider after learning how to ask her horse for shoulder-in started riding turns and circles with much more awareness regarding proper bending. All of a sudden the feel she experienced in shoulder-in, horse's shoulders up and balanced and light gave her understanding of how shoulders need to be during single track movements such as circles. Now I give lessons in shoulder-in to students that have not mastered proper bend on a circle to give them a new tool for bending. Click here to read my blog on shoulder-in.
Working with a young horse, importance of "seeing" - Many riders buy young or very green horses. And these horses are very different from schooled , seasoned horses. You cannot simply get after a horse for not responding or doing something wrong and expect it to understand you. Many times young horses get confused, startled with the sudden aids, take initiative of their own or simply loose their focus and forget what they are doing. When working with a young horse you must sort out all these answers and pick most important ones. For example, you asking your horse for a canter transition and he makes it a big, exuberant one with a jump or may be even a little buck or a kick. Do not simply react and grab the reins or worse punish a youngster. You got canter depart that was the most important answer, everything else doesn't matter. It takes months and months of work to make these transitions smooth, balanced and off hind legs. Until then your youngster is not strong enough, may react if not prepared for transition, can loose his balance and so on. Develop ability to "see" in all this mess the proper answer and ignore everything else.
Happy riding...
 
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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