I haven’t made any secret of my various forays into improving my riding position using all sorts of methods. First, when I was in my 20’s lots and lots of lessons and lunge lessons. Then I discovered Centered Riding, which was useful and helped my position somewhat but still left big holes in my seat and aids. Mary Wanless came next with her very detailed books and videos that left me with, again, some concepts improved but many things still lacking. After MW I sort of gave up on focussing on my position and turned to Dressage Naturally which has much more emphasis on partnership and harmony and not so much detail on the seat other than a lot of riding bitless and bridleless. Which does of course lead to a better seat because you can’t use your hands to cover up your lack of balance and effective aids.
Anyway, this quick and dirty recap of 40 years of riding still leaves me in many ways in the same place. Much more knowledgeable about how horses learn, more advanced in horse keeping, able to be in harmony at the lower level dressage stuff but lacking that elusive great and effective “seat”. I’m at the age where this is it, and if I want to get noticeably better at riding, I need to try something new and completely different. Enter Feldenkrais specifically The Dave Thind Method.
Everything is unmounted so far. Gentle, with no effort, but when you are done you walk and move differently. And my seat. With no effort I have an effective square halt, a half-halt, a flowing walk and sitting and posting are much improved. The crazy thing about Feldenkrais is that in the sessions the emphasis is on trying less, tiny movements, and just being. It is so opposite to all the effort I have put into improving my seat before, but the lack of tension, scans of body position, and gentle exploration of movement are so far super effective.
I’m only a few days into this thing but so far I am loving it and so are the ponies. Updates soon!