“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. Then, when my mentor wanted a more level heel from me he would simply say ‘heels’ which is the cue to me to relax my lower back, open my hip angle and lift my toes, giving the desired result of level heels, job done.”
” … What you have not done yet is learnt anything about how to ride. This is a very pertinent point and I bring this up now because what I discovered in my quest to become a skillful rider is that a very large proportion of what the top riders do is work related to getting their mind and body fit for purpose. All this assessment, planning, re-assessment and pondering will culminate into a full understanding of how your body is, or is not working when you elegantly mount your steed. This is sadly lacking in the mind-set of the grass=roots rider and a
ccounts for 90% of failures. For those of you that want to rush off and ride, do so. Go and have a go, just please ensure that you follow the rest of the program and keep in your mind that patience is a virtue that you must have to succeed in dressage.”
The discovery phase of the book is set in two parts, it begins with helping you to find clarity in your approach to your training and goes on to help you with a top to toe analysis of you as a rider.
Asking you to look at your body and its capabilities,
identifying difficulties you might have in manoeuvring yourself into that often elusive, effective position on your horse.”