Crystal System Dressage – Chapter 11
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.”
“… Most riders appreciate and understand the value of a worthwhile warm up. If you are to have a productive schooling session as part of the planning process you should try to establish what you need to do in your warm up to enable your horse to work at it’s optimum. You are looking to remove any restrictions from your horse’s body and of course, to increase oxygen delivery and blood circulation to your horse’s skeletal muscles to prevent early accumulation of metabolic wastes such as lactic acid in the tissues.”
“… The name of the game is relaxation. This must also be your warm up goal. The important thing is not to put too much pressure on either yourself or your horse in the warm up. As you proceed, your warm up exercises should lead you directly into your planned workout for the day. This is to say that your warm up should flow seamlessly into your schooling session; you should not take a break after your warm up. Having said that Mark is a big advocate of giving his horses plenty of breaks on a long rein; short bursts of quality work, followed by total relaxation on a long rein. However, the relaxation on a long rein requires a forward and active walk, accuracy in the shapes that I perform and total attentiveness from my horse with maybe a little manoeuvring with my seat to see if she is listening.”
” … Shoulder-in was described by Nuno Oliveira as “The aspirin of
horseback riding, it cures everything” and although the shoulder-in is not introduced until medium level in competition, not enough riders at grass roots levels (intro, prelim, novice, elementary) use shoulder-in and shoulder-fore as basic schooling exercises.”
” … Wow, it’s all going swimmingly right? Well, no, not always, I know that and we are now going to explore a method of keeping you on track and what you can do when you feel overwhelmed (which frankly is inevitable) and perfectly normal.”
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
I have written about the importance of breaks too some time ago but I missed to highlight that they should not be used for a little nap but to keep the horse forward and attentive instead! good point!