Crystal System Dressage, Chapter 9
“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi
“… There are a number of essential elements to the way your horse works which are fundamental to your dressage success. They are forwardness, rhythm and relaxation, tempo and straightness. Without a clear understanding of their importance and a basic knowledge of how to achieve them you simply will not be able to perform a basic training test and unquestionably you will not be able to progress the levels. ”
“… Imagine your horse ambling along in walk, jogging instead of trotting, stumbling through a test constantly breaking the three beat canter. Not often do you see all of these faults in one horse but sure as night follows day you will experience these faults, at least to some extent, if you have not focussed your training on rhythm. Because in this small, rather oddly spelled word (should be ritham, right?) you have wrapped up a whole host of skills you and your horse must master; energy, even tempo, clear and regular paces, balance, contact and so on. If you consider that impurities or irregularities in the rhythm, tempo and stride length are serious flaws in your horse’s ability to perform you can begin to appreciate Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 9
Now we come to the actual riding element of this self-help system, where the goal is to put into place the basic requirements to enable you to train your horse and for you, as a team, to come together and be as one.
“… It really does help to recognise the influence we have with our seat as early as we can in our dressage careers, only then can we begin to appreciate how very generous our horses are for allowing us to ride them at all and how we owe it to them to try to be ‘at one’ with them for this honour. How many riders are able to feel the movement of their horse’s hind leg through their seat and really understand what is happening underneath them? There are lots of reasons why we should but I guess that’s something else we are not taught as a beginner. ” Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 8
“Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it” – Confucius
Chapter 7 takes you through a top to toe analysis of you as a rider, looking at:
- Head and Neck
- Arms and Shoulders
- Hands and Wrists
- Pelvis and Hips
- Open Your Hips
- Align The Hips
- The Psoas Muscles
- Seat Bones and Neutral Spine
- Upper Thigh
- Calf and Ankles
Here are a few extracts and tips to give you a flavour of what you can expect.
“… Of course, being an athlete is not just about fitness, the elegant, calm and quiet position we all aspire to have is beautiful, aesthetically and functionally. For me the very essence of why it is so beautiful is because of effectiveness. There are riders who look pretty, but do not communicate with their horse; there are riders who believe themselves to be effective but will also admit to ‘a few positional faults’. I do not hold with either of these schools of thought. I want to be able to influence my horse with my riding whilst having a correct seat. This for me is where the beauty is. ” Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 7
Decembers issue of In the Stirrups is out and has loads of great reading for us Dressage enthusiasts:
- In the Legends of British Sport, Carl Hester talks about his 25 year career
- My article on Discovering Clarity in Your Thinking, which is an extract from The Crystal System Book and is replicated below for your ease.
- AP McCoy takes up Dressage with Charlotte Dujardin
- Daisy Jackson‘s round up of where she is in her training
- Hans Peter Minderhoud Triumphs in Stockholm.
DISCOVER CLARITY IN YOUR THINKING …
The way you approach your riding is fundamental to the realisation of your dreams. Not only it’s realisation but also whether or not you enjoy the process. Continue reading In The Stirrups – December 2015
There is nothing quite so satisfying than a tick in a box, particularly when that box is on your bucket list. Today is the culmination of two years of work that has been an absolute joy for me; the launch of my book ‘The Crystal System – Dressage, Clear and Transparent … Like Crystal’.
This book came from very humble beginnings, essentially my frustration at the lack of progress in my riding and follows my journey of discovery. It is a highly motivational, sometimes humorous method of self-analysis encapsulating:
- why you want to ride dressage
- what exactly it is you want to do
- why you might be struggling
- how to go about finding a better way
- where to go next
En route to getting this book to market, I have learned that goals are the basis for all achievement, without them you are merely wheel spinning, lacking direction. Continue reading RED LETTER DAY for PP
Hope you are enjoying your Crystal System preview so far. Just 3 days now until it will be available to purchase on this website.
The discovery phase for me was quite humbling. Any unwillingness to consider new ideas is often the result of the brain’s natural dislike for vagueness which is why my mission is to keep everything as clear and simple as possible.
“… Dressage is a thinking sport, riding is about strategy. Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 6
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction” – J.F. Kennedy
“… Not until I embarked on this journey did I fully understand the significance of flexibility and muscle strength and fitness to my riding. I did not appreciate how disadvantaged I was with the negative muscle memory from years sitting at a desk, or the way my shoulder hindered me because of the riding injury I had sustained 17 years earlier.
So in years gone by when I was told ‘get your heels down’ I would push down with my calf, sending tension up through my thigh, pinching with my knees, raising my seat-bones out of the saddle, tilting me forward and unbalancing my position and of course getting in the way of progress. However, since recognising that the tightness in my Psoas muscles was never going to allow me to ‘push down into my heels’ without the catalogue of issues described above, what I actually needed was a few simple and easy to do exercises that I could spend 10 mins doing which released my Psoas muscles. Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 5
“Out of clutter find simplicity, from discord find harmony, in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein
“DEFINE – Are you FIT? If the answer is yes, that’s a really good start but we need to delve deeper, examine the standards by which you are making this judgement.
There are many aspects to being fit for riding dressage:
- reaction time and of course your
- general health
If the answer is no, then that’s also a good start. We all have to start somewhere, right? Let’s take a look at all the elements combined that will define you as an equestrian athlete, fully able to cope with the rigours of dressage riding and your effectiveness in the saddle.”
” … Without core stability the lower back is not supported from inside and can be injured by strain caused by exercise. It is also believed that insufficient core stability can result in lower back pain, poor posture and lethargy. Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 4
Having established what is driving you to do this passion of ours Chapter 3 of The Crystal System Book will help you get some clarity on exactly what it is you want and how you are going to get it.
” … Top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields use the setting of goals to give long-term vision and short-term enthusiasm to their projects. It focuses the mind and helps to, not only organise, but prioritise time so that you can make the very most of it. Let’s be honest, for most amateur riders there is a balancing act to be achieved in terms of time. By setting smart, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in your achievements, however small. Assuming these mean something to you, you should see progress in what might previously have seemed a long and pointless grind. Goals will make you aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, so that you can begin to improve your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.”
” … Are you sold on the idea? Are you itching to scamper off and start writing stuff down? Not yet? Here’s my final pitch … Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 3
Why do you ride Dressage?
In the build up to the launch of The Crystal System Book on 30th November 2015, we are taking a sneaky peak at each chapter. Starting with Chapter 1 (as you do!) in my last post. Here we move on to Chapter 2 with just 3 x paragraphs which looks at helping to find out what is driving you …
“… As I progressed through my training, I become hungry for knowledge about how my body worked, hungry to put that knowledge into practice, shape my position and enjoy the challenges I faced. I am hoping you will feel this way too. It’s pretty addictive. When you really want something, you usually get it sooner or later. I have discovered the only way to see real improvement is to re-examine and question everything we do; keep the good things and reject the bad things. I found this because to this day, no matter what training issues I encounter, the solution is always somewhere in the basics and more often than not, in the way I ride.
The process of finding my own rider faults, after many years of riding, took a somewhat penetrating examination of my motives, convictions, attitudes, an in depth analysis of myself in an effort to determine my true feelings, capabilities and beliefs. This all began with the admission that I was not nearly as good as I thought I was. I questioned everything I had accomplished, everything I thought I knew. The anguish that is caused by this process, and the honesty which is vital for it, is immense.”
“… Success is no accident.
It needs to become a habit. Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 2