I had a note from Anna who is struggling with tension in her horse and all the associated issues and whilst I have regularly written on the subjects of Rhythm and Relaxation it occurred to me that I have not really addressed tension and how to deal with it.
The enemy of harmony is tension; rhythm and relaxation are at the base of the dressage training scale and the biggest challenge to relaxation is tension. It is both mental and physical the tension that causes tightness in a horse’s body which in turn makes the horse uncomfortable and unhappy.
T – Train
E – Extra Work
N – No Doubt
S – Shallow Loops
I – Inhale, exhale
O – On the side
N – Nurture
The little mnemonic above might help you remember some strategies whilst you are riding, that will assist when the dreaded tension creeps into your riding.
T is for TRAIN
As you ride be aware that you are sitting on your horse’s spine and that spine extends from poll to tail without interruption; just as the muscles do. The muscles of the top-line: neck, back and croup merge into one another and besides their individual function, work as a whole. Continue reading Tension Mnemonic