“Supple with your hands and go. Don’t stop riding! Raise your chest. Regulate the rhythm. Everything from the lower leg in the rhythm, if you do it out of rhythm you will make him trot. Supple him, keep him round, walk. Lean back. Don’t pull back. Length the neck. Stop leaning forward. Isolation, keep your torso still. Use your lower leg only. Supple thru with rhythm.”
These are just some of the things Michael said to me during my lesson with him today. For me, today was much more about feel, about doing less to get more, about using my body from my head to my knee as my seat and my lower leg and arms working independent but in the rhythm bringing up the energy through the rhythm. These are things you feel. This is where I feel like the English language leaves us with not enough words to describe what is going on!
There is a circle of energy you create in a horse. Bring that energy up and shaping it is what this is all about to me! I am working hard to get better control of my body, to find my sweet spot on the horse where we are in sync. It is fleeting, but I feel today I found brief moments.
LaWool is an amazing incredibly well trained Grand Prix horse. He is kind and tolerant, but doesn’t give anything away. You have to ride him, every step, every stride and within the rhythm without exception. He is teaching me so much under the guidance of Michael who trained him and knows him inside and out.
- it’s easy to get lost in the study of classical dressage because it is so vast and deep.
- as I have always said, riding is a physical sport, fitness here is key. (I am really saying I need to be more fit!)
- body awareness is critical to be even moderately successful in this discipline. (Michael studied ballet for years before riding, therefore riding came very easily for him with all of his body awareness)
- breathing is key and humming in the timing of the gait can be very helpful.
- learning this takes time and dedication to riding and learning theory.
My big success of the day was getting the canter when I asked and figuring out how to keep it going, then getting to suppling in the canter gait! I can’t describe the power that this horse has and the struggles I’ve had find how to tap into it. Every day I am discovering a little more!