USDF Symposium with Kyra Kirkland
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Thursday, December 18, 2008 07:15 PM
Colorado dressage instructor and judge Simone Windeler, website Windeler Dressage, audited the USDF Symposium featuring Kira Kirkland. Simone did an amazing job at taking notes from Kira's teaching. Simone's notes allow us to "listen" to Kira's incredible expertise and wisdom. Thank you very much, Simone!
Notes from Kyra:
Take your time to read them one at a time, think about the phrase and may be connect it to your own riding experience. I put a few commentaries in italic at places where I thought some explanation may help. Several ideas are repeated in different words throughout notes. I didn't delete them because wording is different and may give you a better understanding.
  • Sit in with weight in your hips and even weight always
  • Elbow back Ė tighten tummy thatís your strength (Strong core, do not mistake with pulling your stomach in)
  • Only outside leg asks in canter forward and only if needed
  • Donít squeeze with leg, leg needs to be loose so you can give aid faster
  • Donít hold horseís head up
  • Horse is a river flowing freely between your legs Ė if you squeeze itís like toothpaste
  • Donít try to push with seat Ė does not work (let them try in halt)
  • Imagine knee as arrowhead Ė point towards head of horse and where you want to go (Thigh must be rotated inward for the knee to point toward the head)
  • Pull in tummy and push intestines against front of belly (Pulls in itself if pushing the intestines done correctly)
  • Keep elbow back with tummy strength
  • Loose fingers, loose leg Ė imaging leg moving within boot, so you can hold in tummy but not jam down with seat
  • Sit a little bouncy
  • If a horse collects he tightens his tummy muscles and gets shorter on bottom and longer on top, also means if collection right he gets fatter between my legs
  • You decide the frame of horse Ė i.e. more rectangular for younger horse, more square for trained horse Ė so frame is how long the horse is, not where the head is
  • Shorter frame = energy is up more than out
  • Stay equal on both hip joints and keep always parallel to horse (your hip to his)
  • If you want higher step you need to time when his leg is on the ground and ready to leave not set aid when in the air because then you push him down
  • Horse needs to be straight on circle Ė too many are too bent to inside
  • He needs to carry me, not I carry him
  • Horse needs to balance with his own neck
  • Seat bones bump within you
  • Carry knee with muscles of your upper thigh, let back of upper thigh drop down
  • Feel that you can put his front leg in front of his hind leg
  • In a normal canter I should not work so hard
  • Slow down canter without leg aid, then set impulse when he slows down not before
  • How light can I be before he stops
  • Ride withers towards his mouth
  • Withers come up in collection
  • Point withers where I want to go not the head
  • Never get stuck in one speed within gait, you can always make more collected or more forward
  • To change something in your body and relearn you first have to take it back out of subconscious and bring back to conscious so you can change it
  • You can do mental training if you have felt it, you can recreate in your mind
  • Lots of problems originate in seat, so check that first, rather than correcting leg, arm, hand, etc
  • If you look to outside, hips come to inside
  • Hips can steer the withers (Do not slide against the saddle, take the horse with you)
  • Sit relaxed in bum, just let the seat bones bounce
  • You always turn withers not head
  • Weight is similar to skiing in middle of body not upper body
  • Donítí ride the saddle ride the back
  • Reins go around the chest and you keep the chest close to you (horse's chest)
  • Imagine reins as a ring around chest, if your contact is not even, you only spin the ring
  • Use leg independent from seat and arm, but you can use at same time
  • Chest comes back to me
  • You canít force a horse to relax, you just have to wait
  • Wait for the horse to start his gait in his back before you follow it.
  • Feel the back, it starts to trot or canter and then you follow
  • Make the horse wait for me in corner, then I turn him
  • Need 100K reps to put something into my subconscious
  • Use whip on outside in canter just like the leg
  • Vertebrae in neck more flexible than in back, bend comes from horse rotating muscle not really bending in back => tense horse cannot bend
  • Donít squeeze with your legs to collect, collect without leg
  • If a horse does not wait for me to turn him, they fall in in corner and riders push them out = wrong, make him wait for you and then you get to turn him
  • Shoulder-in means withers off track, once you get that you can make it pretty Ė not neck in, bum out
  • Small quick impulses with leg, not squeeze
  • No compromise, always ask for 100%
  • In leg yield same weight in both hips, ask to move over with leg, not hand, seat etc Ė it is called leg yield!
  • Shoulder-in Ė donít use leg to push butt out, same weight in hips, donít stop horse on inside rein
  • Gelding you tell, stallion you ask, mare needs three applications
  • Horse needs to stay light in base of neck
  • Quicker steps without chest running away, donít overbend on circle
  • Use your leg until horse changes, donít let horse change you!
  • If horse gets behind me, shorter, quicker steps
There is more coming next time...
Happy riding...
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