Thursday, October 29, 2015

5 Breakthroughs for 2015

Sometimes it feels as though Jet and I are on on endless loop of 1st almost 2nd level dressage that slowly gets better, but oh so slowly.  After reading Beth Baumert's When 2 spines Align last Fall, some huge breakthroughs have developed over the last year and I feel like we finally are getting the building blocks that lead to 2nd and above.  Some of these breakthroughs took some experimentation, some online stalking, and some reading of other authors to completely get the concepts, but I keep coming back to Baumert's book because it works.

1)  I can finally sit upright at vertical.  Really.  I have struggled and struggled with this one as a former hunter rider.  Tried all sorts of images and exercises unsuccessfully.  I was watching myself on video this Summer and had the epiphany that my elbows might be too far forward, pulling my upper body forward.  Hmmmmm I wondered, could this really be THE problem?  Do I just need to put my elbows back more at my sides?  Yes, that was it.  Problem solved in a few days of concentrated work after 20 years.  Boom.

2)  I can finally get a horse to stretch out to the contact consistently.  This has come about by using Beth Baumert's concepts of powerlines and half halts.  This one has taken months of fine tuning of my position and timing.  All of the other concepts learned this year have helped tremendously as well.

3)  I can finally stay with the motion, not always slightly behind the motion.  I credit Sylvia Loch with this one, and her concept of riding the crest of the wave on the horse's back.  By projecting the whole, solid, frontline, waist to hands all the time all the gaits and movements got so much easier.

4)  I can finally keep my hands down and not use my hands so much because...

5)  I can follow the horse's back with my seat, so I can have the horse take longer steps, shorter steps, and stop, just from my seat.  I have struggled and struggled with the high/active hands until I fixed my following seat.  Once you can follow and have a consistent passive seat the horse can "hear" your active seat.  So, you have a following seat until you want something different and the you adjust the horse with your seat by taking longer, shorter, or no steps.  Then so many of your other leg and hand aids just become slight refining touches.  You know, like the good riders do...

2 years ago...

 Two weeks ago...


  1. Nice summary! :-) It's amazing what projections can do, isn't it? Finding mental images that work for me takes a lot of sifting & trial & error, but something as simple as "imagine your elbows rubber cemented to your ribcage" has transformed my ability to sit up, carry my hands better, & maintain an elastic feel that I can finally ride my horse into. (Note: actual execution is nowhere near as exact as description, LOL) Y'all are looking great!

  2. Thank you! I agree with you about finding just the right mental image- I like your elbows image- might have to use that one...

    1. I can't remember where I read that one - I think it might be a Sally Swift gem; I'm such a visually oriented person, I just love her imagery! If the whole world would just draw pictures of everything, life would be so much easier, lol!