Visualization is key when it comes to riding. Picturing how the horse works under the rider is imperative to the success of your communication with that horse. Understanding is crucial to the develop of the horse and rider. I will get right to it because I do not like to read allot of fluff and I know you are itching to get on your horse.
Picture the horse as liquid. Horses, by nature, want to fill empty spaces under the rider. As the rider’s weight moves in the saddle, so the horse responds. As liquid wants to fill and empty space, so does a horse. When you step the leg away from a horse, the horse wants to fill that empty space and moves in that direction. When you are posting, the horse wants to push the back up to you in the up phase of the post. When you make yourself light in the saddle the horse wants to pull upward in the back and core to fill the lightness. When you give a rein forward, the horse wants to push forward with that back leg and engage. When the rider has control of his/her own body, then they can begin to influence the horse as a container influences water. You can move the horse into various positions that enhance the horse and make it a happier being in its work.
Start at the walk and experiment with different positions in your body.
1. Open a leg away from a horse, see what happens
2. Lift your rib cage and make yourself light, see what happens
3. Give one rein, see what happens
4. Give two reins, see what happens
5. Take both legs away, see what happens
6. Continue in the other two gaits and take mental notes of how you influenced your horse.
This experimentation is the basis of dressage. This is how you learn the language of dressage, the horse’s language. You must try and note the outcome. The trick is to be open enough to take a true account of what the results are. The expectation of the horse is to let his body flow with yours. The expectation of the rider is to have true body control and when we lose control of our bodies, it is the rider’s responsibility to take note of 1. Where we lost control 2. How the horse reacted to our mistake.
We first have learn to do nothing, then we have to learn to be deliberate with our body…only then can we have a partnership with our horse.