The Coronavirus is taking up a lot of head space for many, including me. My family is ok for now, we live on a small farm so we have space to get outside, and the horses are at home. Financially we are ok, and none of us have any high risk factors for the disease, but it is still so scary to watch this thing progress. I’ve had a hard time really thinking much about riding even though I’ve been keeping to my usual 3 or so rides a week. Now that we can see though, that this thing is going to last a long time, I am making an effort to read the news a little more selectively and focus on some things that help me stay on an even keel. Doing yoga and another type of exercise daily, getting outside for at least an hour a day on top of my ride days, and watching a Dressage Naturally video every day. Small things but they work for me.
During my ride yesterday I was thinking about energy (the bane of my riding existence right now) and for whatever reason a snippet from a DN video came to mind. Think of the gait you want being within the gait you are currently doing. For instance, you’re walking along and want a nice walk to trot transition. Instead of giving aids to trot you build up the energy to get to that feeling that you could almost trot but don’t. You hold back the trot with your seat until you let it out and bam, good crisp transition. The same hold for lengthens, extensions, and etc.. The above illustrates the coiling of energy. When, before every transition, I thought of having the next gait within the current gait, I got some beautiful flowing work. The same held true for my downward transitions. When going from trot to walk, if I thought about having a nice balanced walk within the trot waited a bit and then did the transition, the walk was so balanced and uphill. The older I get the more I realize just how subtle good riding is and how powerful mental images can be for the rider.
What is your go to image for transitions?