Horses lend us the wings we lack.

In riding a horse we borrow freedom.

The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dressage and the power of your seat

Our dressage is a little rusty - okay much more rustier than I'd like to admit, but with my first eventing show in three weeks, I have been doing some catch-me-up dressage lessons. Eddy and I are finally in tune (oh, for the most part anyways) when it comes to jumping. No longer is he scaring the crap outta me and no longer am I to him. Did I mention how strong he is??  Really, it came down to me managing his strides, but... again that's a whole other tangent...  Being so strong and hard mouthed (but sensitive in so many ways) our riding sometimes becomes a fight about who is stronger - you can guess I rarely win. We had Eddy going great in a myler bit, but I have discovered he needs to be rotated when it comes to the bit department, and what works for jumping, doesn't necessarily work for dressage. 
I was out last night, working on my flatwork with Eddy being in one of his anxious moods, and me, a little tired, we began this fight. I wanted him round, he wanted to be flat and full out extended trot.  As soon as I used contact, he popped his head up and hollowed his back. Grrrrr.  Out comes my coach.  "Give him the reins!"  (I don't really want to - he is just going to blast forward!!!!!) But, I do as I am told. "Now let him extend". He trots fast.... "Start slowing your posting, and DON'T use your reins!" Some collection starts to take place, but I am still not convinced... "Relax your upper body and post just with your seat, you're putting too much weight in your stirrups" (oh that is such a weakness of mine...) "Good, good!, now start sitting heavier every time you post, while still slowing your posting".  It worked, he slowed down, came into a proper trot and was in proper frame. Never underestimate the power of your seat.  Especially with a horse like Eddy who is ultra sensitive to the aids.  Yes, he pulls, but he can only pull if there is something to pull on.

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