Category Archives: Contact

Are you aware you have Arms?

Feel your arms down by your sides and relax them from the shoulder.

The sensation of feeling your arms gently against your side will automatically bend your elbows, give you soft shoulders and soft giving hands.

This very small element of posture correction has been a huge positive force in my riding. Feeling my arms by my sides gives me a sense of what is happening with my upper body. If I am leaning forwards or backwards I feel it with my arms.

Now I am not a student of the Classical Masters, but one of the things (and there are many others) that I always notice about the Classical Masters photographs is the way they hold their arms. Or should I say, the way their arms look so soft and effortless. You get the sense that all the messages are coming just from the fingers.

Next time you are on board make a conscious decision to be aware of your arms. Notice when they are by your sides how much more “at one” with your horse you feel. As soon as you start flapping those elbows you will feel the difference in your horse. Somehow, gently feeling your arms by your sides gives you a reassuring feeling of control! Try it and let me know how you get on.



Patricia – The Dressage Tipster




If good hands are the result of a good frame of mind, your mind has to know when to resist and when to give in.  This is at the very moment the horse gives in!  Use your hands intermittently.  Be still as soon as the horse answers and only use them again if something changes and you need a correction.

Dont do anything

Ask – if the horse does not react, stop and immediately start again.  If he gives, you give and then immediately cease all action, thereby keeping the stability required
to allow your horse forward.
Practice mostly doing nothing! 
Make adjustments when you FEEL the need, then go back to doing nothing.


It is contrary to good hands to put too much effort into having your hands and forearms as the rulebook states!

Corner 1This is putting too much pressure on you to be “correct” and thus stiffling your ability to feel.

The sensation should be easy and effortless, round your wrists slightly toward inside, nails facing, close your fingers, but in the same measure, keep them soft so not clamped closed. Good hands are the result of a good frame of mind!

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster