Hey horsey friends – Second post of the ’99 Questions’ series of blogs. We have a long way to go to get all 99 in but stick with it, I’ve written 8 of them! lol
I’m trying to keep them quick fire and succinct with links to other blogs that might help you and to give you a quick nudge and provoke a thought before you ride. I really think there will be something for everyone.
Self-Assessment Question #2 : Are you in balance?
Can you let go of the reins and ride without reliance on your hand? If you can’t you may need to go back to basics which means checking your riding position.
Find Your Centre of Gravity
To find if you are truly over the centre of gravity whilst the horse is moving, means verifying that your legs are in the correct position. To do this lift your bottom out of the saddle and go into ‘half seat’ (at least).
However, in order to check absolute alignment (and slightly more difficult to do) is the ability to stand up straight, with an upright back. Do this from your seated position without gripping with your legs or using the reins to keep your balance.
If you find that you tip forwards or fall backwards, or if you find that you need to move your legs in order to stand up independently, then your legs were not in the correct position when you started.
Continue reading Q2 – Are You In Balance?
Horses thrive on routine, doing the same thing repeatedly is how we train effectively, how they learn easily. It is doing the SAME thing time and time again that gets us there. So, if you try something different every time you train your horse will become confused.
How many of you have had the comment “needs a more consistent contact” from the judges?
Are you clear and do you fully understand and give consistent aids or
Could you, unwittingly, be creating creating confusion?
Developing a clear, non-verbal language with your horse means making a connection and is where your dressage journey begins.
Unfortunately, expecting something to be difficult to achieve can often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, in order for you to begin the process of achieving a ‘usable contact’ with your horse you must decide for yourself that it can be done. That is decide that yes, you may face obstacles that will be challenging for you; you may have to sort out a few issues; most likely with your riding but sometimes with the horse (teeth, back), sometimes tack issues (saddle, bit), but get your mindset right and choose to believe that you and your horse are not only willing, but more than capable (once all issues have been investigated and dealt with) of working in an outline; with a contact; on the aids; on the bit, on the vertical, call it what you will.
When you sign up to The Crystal System Blog you get 3 valuable reports
- 5 Dressage Tips that could Revolutionise your Riding
- 10 MUST DO Dressage Test Tips that will Take your scores to GOOD or better
- 99 Questions to help you self-assess your Training Progress – (catchy title – does what it says on the tin!)
Report No. 3 is the ultimate, ridiculously long, ‘quick check’ guide and is essentially a whole heap of quick fire questions designed to help you self-assess your training progression. Most riders print the report and put them it in their tack room, so that after riding they can pick it up and use it as a reference guide.
I thought it might be useful to delve a little deeper into each question so I am starting a new series of blogs to give you a little more information about each question and how it might help your riding goals.
Self-Assessment Question #1 : Are you relaxed?
Are there any muscle groups subconsciously tense? – gripping thigh, tension through shoulders, tense fingers, rigid jaw-line, rock hard arms, solid back? All of the above? Continue reading Q#1 Are You Relaxed?
Real Life Rider Lee asked me … ‘what advice would you give to help with collected canter’. A really good question, the answer to which will help many. Here’s what I think …
First thing to do is to make sure you have properly established the working to medium so go for lots of variations in the stride, ‘on and back’ to get you and your horse used to the control of the variation in pace required, utilising paces you know you can do. 5-8 strides of each. I am assuming you know how to do these on the basis that collection only comes into tests at Elementary/Medium level so working to medium trot will be well established.
Secondly, one you are entirely happy that you have control over the variation and that means, you can control the number of strides, go for working canter to walk / walk to canter to get your horse absolutely on the seat and aids and encourage more hind leg. Again walk to canter is in the Novice test, so you will be accomplished with this.
Continue reading Exercises to help with Collected Canter
How much do I love the blogging network Haynet? I love living in the country, horse riding, farming, dog walking and all that outdoorsy stuff so I guess I am typical of Haynet’s target audience. I also love reading stories from real people about their horsey and countryside antics.; finding out about the day-to-day lives and loves and making connections with like-minded folks. If you have passion for any of the above you too will love Haynet and I think you should take a look round and join us!
I say US because I am now a fully fledged member of the team having recently been asked to become a member of the very exclusive “Cream of the Crop Club”.
Continue reading Haynet – Cream Of The Crop
I am often asked the best way to warm up your horse for the training session ahead and this is something that I used to struggle with myself. Exactly what is it I am trying to achieve, and how?
I have a number of routines that I use depending on the horse and what sort of work is planned but nine times out of ten I follow the same path, which not only helps me ensure that I am warming up my horse correctly but also helps to settle my horse if she is in a different environment. Doing the same old warm up routine she does every session at home is familiar and well within her comfort zone (and mine!)
The other benefit is that when you are used to a specific routine you can become very proficient at it and can make adjustments to get you back on track if and when required in a strange environment, like at a competition.
Continue reading My Most Used Warm Up Routine
Hey guys, I’m really sorry I have been a little absent of late. 2016 Has been my annus horribilis! After a very long illness my beloved mother lost her fight for life on 22 November 2016. It was a blessed release.
I am thankful for the time I had with mum, I am grateful that I was lucky enough to have been her daughter and I will hold her in my heart forever.
I will honour her by living my life to the full and making 2017 my ‘optimus anno aeternum’ or ‘Best Year Ever’.
I hope you will join me as the blog picks up momentum again. I have lots planned, just need to get my head sorted over the festive period and get some rest so that I can hit the ground running come January.
Have fun and look out for each other.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
I am privileged to have connected to many equestrians throughout the time I have been blogging not least some fellow bloggers who have amazing talent to share with you. Check out these entertaining and informative equestrian blogs that I highly recommend. Continue reading 5 Equestrian Blogs I Highly Recommend
“This book has completely recharged and refocused me. It is simply brilliant. I now know for sure that we can do it! It took a while to get into the mind-set needed; it all seemed a little overwhelming, too much knowledge and not enough skill, I guess! But with the help of this book we are achieving little victories every single session. I am smiling and grinning all over the place.
As Patricia says ‘It’s an exciting and rewarding journey’ and it really is.”
Continue reading The Gift of Dressage Inspiration
The Real Life Rider Series
From our video coaching service we received the following question.
“Can you see if you can pinpoint why I struggle to keep my hands relatively still?”
This is a really common problem where a rider will recognise this problem and concentrate on trying to keep the hands still, believing that somewhere in the arms and hands lies the problem. Fact is that the issue is coming from the centre of the body and is nothing to do with the extremities. Simply put the rider’s ‘centre of balance’ is off.
From the video provided by the rider she had a slightly forward positioning of her upper body, throughout her ride. Her horse was naturally built uphill but even so, he was finding it difficult to engage his hindquarters as well as he might due to the riders balance issues.
The first thing we noticed was that for the majority of the ride the riders toes were pointing down, and her hands as she rightly pointed out ‘moved too much’. Her horse was ‘on the forehand’. Now there’s ‘on the forehand’ and there’s ‘on the forehand’. This horse was not dragging himself around with the front legs, but he is technically ‘on the forehand’ because, firstly the rider had explained that she feels he is too much in her hand most of the time and secondly we could see from the video that the horse was trailing out behind with too much weight on the shoulder. He should ‘sit’ more.
What to do to keep the hands still?
Continue reading Hands Still Moving – Help Me