The first book review is in and they are coming thick and fast. I am absolutely delighted that Finnish born Roosa Rantanen of ‘Roosa’s Horsey Life‘ has given a huge thumbs up and recommends it to, well, everyone really!
Haynet blogger Roosa Rantanen recently was selected as competition winner to do a Book Review and was sent The Crystal System by 2014 Haynet Blogger of the Year, Patricia Pitt.
Here’s Roosa’s Book Review:
“Patricia Pitt is the amazing blogger known as The Dressage Tipster who from her blogging, her riding life experiences and learning journey has created the book The Crystal System. Thanks to Haynet and the wonderful Dressage Tipster I was given the opportunity to read the book over Christmas.
The Crystal System is a self-help system for riders, which aims to clear up some of the mysteries that often surround the ability to ride skilfully, with feel and with subtlety – but self-help is not to be taken negatively, for as Patricia points out in the book self help “is to use one’s own efforts and resources to achieve things without relying on others”. I’m sure many of us have felt the need to be always helped out by trainers who are more knowledgable that us, but this book encourages you to train yourself in order to improve.
Continue reading Roosa’s Book Review
Chapter 13 – Overcoming a Crisis
In this final chapter I talk about what to do if and when you hit a crisis.
On understanding the inevitable
“… The new habits you form are often very fragile and it is for this reason that you need to eliminate any source of resistance that may lead you astray. When the inevitable ‘curve ball’ is thrown into play, you need some strategies to deal with the unexpected. Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but having the ability to deal with them”.
On Competition Anxiety
Continue reading The Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 13
CRYSTAL SYSTEM DRESSAGE – Chapter 12 – DO – Rider Focus Plan
So we move to the penultimate chapter of the book, pulling together all you have gleaned from previous chapters, this post gives you a few sample paragraphs, quotes, tips and illustrations that are included in Chapter 12 to see you if think it might be for you.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellent then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
“… Evaluation and re-evaluation and a systematic progressive plan will ensure that the inevitable recurring plateaus can be dealt with. You may feel unable to ride, you may feel like what you are trying to achieve is just not achievable. This will continue until you become secure and master the new way of working. Often riders get to thinking ‘it’s like learning to ride all over again’. In the long term, the cycle of breakthrough, plateau, re-evaluation will never end, no matter how accomplished you become.
However those ‘bad’ rides, after which you think that you will never learn to ride skilfully can and will be overcome if you continue to analyse and figure it out for yourself; no quick fix, no shortcut, no easy way – only diligent practice.”
Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 12
Chapter 11 – Do – Suppling Your Horse
Snippets from Chapter 11 to give you a feel for what The Crystal System offers you.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Be curious” – Stephen Hawking
“… The critical aim of the preliminary training phase is looseness and by this I mean relaxation of all of the joints and muscles. Only when your horse is supple can he create impulsion, be straight and have balance with a swinging back and self-carriage. Looseness is not achieved overnight, particularly if you have started with a horse that has a degree of stiffness anywhere in his body and/or legs. It will take a minimum of six weeks
of patient work for you to re-train any ‘bad’ muscle memory and a further six weeks for the muscle to develop and become strong. Laterally your horse should be able to bend his body from poll to just behind the saddle without falling in on the shoulder or swinging out the haunches. The only means you have for acquiring lateral suppleness in your horse is lateral bending.” Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 11
Chapter 10 – Do – Influencing Your Horse
More snippets from The Crystal System Book …
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill
“Of course, everything we do influences our horse’s way of going and it is worth taking on board my primary message to you ‘If you get the right response when you ask correctly, it surely follows that if you get the wrong response, you may not be asking correctly”.
“… The novice or untrained horse (whatever the age) needs time to develop strength and flexibility to accomplish the desired ‘roundness.’ It’s important that every time you take a walk break, you should give a loose rein and let your horse adopt any frame he wants so that he can relax his muscles. The length of time you ask your horse to work ‘on the bit’ depends on the individual horse. Always consider his age, fitness, and temperament. Clearly, if you do too much and make your horse sore because he’s using his muscles differently, you’re not only going to have a sore horse, but also a horse that becomes quirky and resistant. So the trick with anything you do with a horse is to bring him up to the limit, and then take the pressure off. As soon as your horse shows signs of resistance because he’s either physically or mentally tired, back off. Build up day by day.
Continue reading Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 10
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
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