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 Post subject: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:43 pm 
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I decided to collect all of Mucki's videos here:


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Last edited by Volker on Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:29 am, edited 20 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:07 am 
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I want those cones!!! All we have is tyres and your cones are so much better! :D

And I absolutely love your video of yesterday (haven't seen the other ones yet). It's like a shopping list of everything I should do with Speedy too, like staying in place while you walk away, I love your back up slalom, and sideways over stuff is also something we haven't done before for some reason.
I really like how careful and concentrated he is when stretching his leg in the jambette, I think that of all the exercises you can do with a horse, the way he does the jambette says the most about the character of the horse.

How old is he?

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:20 am 
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Very nice video, Volker and Mucki! :)

So nice to see how you are so focused together, like two puzzle solvers. :smile: And a great reminder to use more objects in our training again as well. I always forget that, but I think it's such a good way to give the exercises some purpose...


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:55 am 
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examplerary :applause:

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:39 am 
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Thank you all! :friends:
That was a really nice session on Sunday. We were both very relaxed, up to a point where my body language seems to be that of someone slouched on a sofa, watching tv. I have to admit, I was a bit shocked when I saw my body language on the video :ieks:. A bit too relaxed, don´t you think?
But I´m afraid that´s me. Hanging shoulders and bent over posture is the curse of a tall man... :sad:

Miriam wrote:
I want those cones!!! All we have is tyres and your cones are so much better! :D
Yes, cones are nice! They can be bitten into and picked up, they can be kicked and then walked over, among other useful things. :) Unfortunately they are not so easy to come by, if you want stay legal. Otherwise they are quite expensive I´m afraid.

Miriam wrote:
It's like a shopping list of everything I should do with Speedy too,
So is yours for me :D. It´s no coincidence that we are doing the things we are doing. Mucki loves the slow and deliberate exercises. The ones where he can brag with his superior intellect! But running and sweating is written on another page - that´s below his dignity! ;)
So getting him to circle my in trot at liberty will be quite a task for us. And I will have to work on my energy level while working with him :blush:, be the tiger not the sloth... Oh dear, won´t be easy... :sad:

Miriam wrote:
How old is he?
Just turned four two weeks ago! Slowly but steadily he´s becoming a man, with all the delusions of grandeur that come with that - he´s already taken over the herd :muscle:.

Romy wrote:
And a great reminder to use more objects in our training again as well. I always forget that, but I think it's such a good way to give the exercises some purpose...
I love to setup a parcours like that. Mucki likes it too, but I think it´s more important for myself. It fuels my imagination and creativity during the sessions. If I´m just in the empty arena I sometimes feel like a writer in front of a blank page. Horror vacui, so to speak.
On the other hand can those objects restrict the flow of an exercise. As soon as the horse recognizes the object, it associates it with a certain exercise. This can be helpful, but also a hinderance if you want to develop new movements... Depends a lot on the character of the horse. Sometimes they even create new exercises by themselves. On Sunday for example Lily kicked over a cone and then walked sideways over it. She invented walking over a cone before, but since they are so tall that they come dangerously close to her belly she simply kicked it over! Now isn´t that ingenious?! :applause: Lily often amazes me...

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:11 pm 
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Houyhnhnm wrote:
We were both very relaxed, up to a point where my body language seems to be that of someone slouched on a sofa, watching tv. I have to admit, I was a bit shocked when I saw my body language on the video :ieks:. A bit too relaxed, don´t you think?


Maybe not too relaxed per se, but with rather little differentiation in some situations, and not always a clear relation between what you ask and how you move. Do you want suggestions? If yes, I can only do it later though, because I have to work.


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:15 pm 
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Romy wrote:
Do you want suggestions? If yes, I can only do it later though, because I have to work.
Of course! :yes: :applause:

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:38 pm 
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:applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: LOVE IT!

Despite how you denigrate your own body language I think you move elegantly with Mucki (and he with you). You move thoughtfully. You are thinking about what you are doing. This slow and precise movement is often just what we need to see/feel what it is we are doing so we can mentally "lock it in". So it's inevitable that when we really need to think about what we are doing, we LOOK like we are thinking about what we're doing. If you didn't, then I would say/think that you are not giving it enough thought while you're doing it. :funny: Later, as it becomes habitual for you and Mucki, it will look different.

The turn you both do at 1:28 or so is just perfect and lovely. He is so sure about what you are asking...and again, that's because you asking thoughtfully...so I really don't think that at this stage it should look any different while you are sorting it out between you. Your videos, and Miriam's and Romy's (and others of course) are such lovely illustrations of that thoughtful process we should all be doing. Plus, they are great resources for showing people how this inner awareness works because it's so clear that is what is going on...you are inside yourself, thinking about how you are moving, and this offers security and clarity to Mucki. Can't get much more perfect than that.

:yes:

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:49 pm 
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Karen wrote:
:applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: LOVE IT!

Despite how you denigrate your own body language I think you move elegantly with Mucki (and he with you). You move thoughtfully. You are thinking about what you are doing.


I agree.... Volker, everything I saw was fluid and dance-like.

I couldn't help but snicker a bit at the end of the video because I know many people have waggled a finger at you for being "new" to horses and buying a young horse. I see so many seasoned horse people who can't even lead their horses sometimes and yet in the video, without restraint you both show a gigantic understanding of eachother's language and a beautiful fluidity of moving together. Way to stick it to the man! ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:30 pm 
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So here is the more detailed reply to your video. First, I think it's a very, very nice video. I really like how you two are experimenting with things and how relaxed you are in your interaction with Mucki. One of the parts I like very much is between 1:20 and 1:38, because although you look at him, your movement is focused forwards and you aren't standing on the brakes. That's so hard to do for most people. Very nice energy between you two! :clap:

You said before that Mucki understands you even when you have your own personal body language. I think you are right: he reliably understands what type of exercise you are asking and also understands the more general cues you give for the specific moves he does during the exercise. I think this is because the aspects of your own body language that you use most actively (and perhaps most consciously?) also are the macro aspects (setting legs forwards, pointing with hands etc.) and the meso aspects (setting legs more or less forwards, moving a bit slower or faster, shifting your hips towards him or away from him etc.).

As I said, I do like how relaxed you are, so when I am going to suggest in the following parts that you could use your body tension as a means of communication, I do not mean to say that you should be less relaxed in general, but rather suggest that you could differentiate between levels of relaxation a bit more, depending on what you are going to ask. Using your body tension and other things like that as a cue will mostly help you to be able to communicate more actively on a micro level: not only to cue whole exercises or component moves, but to influence things like Mucki's body tension, the energy and timing of his moves and also fine-grained positional aspects of his movement, like the way he is bending and turning. As a result, your cues can also become smaller because a smaller movement already contains much more information, so it's not necessary to further increase it.

Another advantage is that in this way your moves would become more predictable. You often do this very nicely already, but I think there's still room for some improvements in precision. For example when you ask Mucki to back up at 0:27, there is a short time window in which your body prepares for the exercise, which also gives Mucki the chance to prepare to some degree. If you extended this preparation period in time and made it a bit clearer, he would literally move away on a thought cue ;) - simply because your intention manifests in your body language.

The way you can do this could be things like first breathing in very clearly (an easy way to raise your body tension), then focusing on the upper parts of your own body (which adds some straightness), then move your hip towards Mucki and so on. This can all happen within a few seconds, but it tells Mucki that a request is going to come now and it also gives him some information about what this request will be: something that probably involves moving away. He can prepare for it and in this way respond to even smaller cues much sooner. It would become less necessary to walk into his space, but if you were still walking with him, your own movement would follow, not push. I don't mean to suggest that you are being rude, not at all, but there is always some room for increasing politeness and mutual awareness, if you are interested in doing that.

Or to make it much more simple than what I have been trying to describe in the previous sections: instead of having cues that are either on or off, you could focus on using cues that are slowly building up and change over time, depending on what you want. In this way you also get a more constant communication.

If you do NOT use the micro cues, the horse actually has to partly disengage from your body language if he doesn't want to produce wrong responses in some situations. For example when you walk away from Mucki and ask him to stay from 1:03-1:08, nothing in your body language suggests that he should stay. He can still stay in place because he simply doesn't focus on you that attentively at this moment, but if he was trying to interpret your body language, it would tell him that he can come with you. This isn't a huge problem and I also don't mean that he has to completely disconnect - most of the time he is attending to you wonderfully. But I think that for example when he doesn't stop the backing up he started at 4:03, this might be related to just that: he is attending to the cue per se that you give to initiate an exercise and set the global parameters, but he does not really use the feedback from your body language as precisely as he could during the process, because those micro cues often aren't that clear and thus a bit hard to interpret.

And then again there are situations where you are doing it wonderfully, so I guess what I am trying to say is not to change something in general, but maybe become a bit more aware of the micro moves and use them more reliably.

Another thing you could attend to is the potential of your torso including your hips as opposed to arm cues. I know you are already using your hips a lot and this is great. Whenever I see you do it, I think Mucki is responding wonderfully. However, in some moments where you focus on your arm cues a lot, the hip cues seem to partly disappear or even get reversed. An example you can see between 0:24 and 0:27, where your hip actually points away from Mucki's hindquarters while you point towards them to make them move away. Perhaps a leftover from the Parelli days - in your first video you were doing this much more and I have seen Parelli people do that over and over when asking for turning away the hindquarters.

Taken together I think it's a wonderful video and I see no problems that need to be changed at all, just some small aspects that you can modify if you want some more precision and a more constant communication about the details. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:37 pm 
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I have to digest all this information first! :ieks: Thank you all for your answers - I´m flattered. :kiss:

Karen wrote:
Despite how you denigrate your own body language I think you move elegantly with Mucki (and he with you).
Just wanted to say that I didn´t want to denigrate (new nice word to add to my vocabulary) my body language. I also didn´t mean to fish for compliments. I honestly feel strange when I look at my videos. We had this discussion before - I feel a strong discrepancy between how my body language feels from the inside and what it conveys via video. It certainly conflicts with my vanity :roll:, but more than that I wonder what Mucki reads from my body language. Does he recieve - at least partially - what I feel inside, or does he just take the visible cues?
It is something I know I have to deal with, also when communicating with people. My introverted nature mainfests itself in said discrepancy of in- and outside.

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:00 pm 
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Romy, thank you so much for your detailed analysis! :kiss: A lot of things you write there I have to push around in my head first and try them out in the field before I fully know their implications.

Romy wrote:
One of the parts I like very much is between 1:20 and 1:38, because although you look at him, your movement is focused forwards and you aren’t standing on the brakes.
I have to say I was amazed myself how smooth this looks - we have worked quite a while on this waltz and I was long time unsure if I explain it right to Mucki.

Romy wrote:
Using your body tension and other things like that as a cue will mostly help you to be able to communicate more actively on a micro level:
I like your breaking down to cues into micro, meso and macro levels. I can relate to that. Although in my personal development I´m still stuck somewhere in macro/meso ;).
You are so right about my micro level. I definitely need to work on that! Which brings me back again to the things I described at the beginning of this posting - the discrepancy of inside and outside impression. I mean I do try to use certain micro level cues. I do use breathing in, or holding breath, or I try to increase muscle tension and so on, but I´m afraid it doesn´t get to the surface the same way that I intended it. :sad: It is surely worse when somebody is looking - even when it´s Anna and the camera. But generally I have to work on this most. Do you have any ideas how I can train this? Maybe do some exercises in front of a mirror? :lol:

Romy wrote:
Another advantage is that in this way your moves would become more predictable.
Very interesting! I often thought about whether reducing the intensity of the cues will end up in Mucki responding to every little movement I make - intentional or not - and how I can prevent this. I guess you just gave me the answer, if I understood you right. Maybe I can work out some preparational "cue" that initiates a request, or something? Now that I think about it, I think I already do something like that at times... :idea:
The question is if there can be a generic sign for that, or like you also say maybe this should be a very low level version of the specific cue for the exercise...

Romy wrote:
For example when you walk away from Mucki and ask him to stay from 1:03-1:08, nothing in your body language suggests that he should stay.
Actually I do something, but I´m not sure if it´s appropriate. I try to disengage my focus or something like that, so I don´t send any signal to Mucki. I found it hard to point with my hips in his direction, while moving backward :). But maybe disengaging my focus leaves Mucki alone too much?

Romy wrote:
I know you are already using your hips a lot and this is great.
Guess whose influence that was? :D

However, in some moments where you focus on your arm cues a lot, the hip cues seem to partly disappear or even get reversed.[/quote] Yes, I do use my hands a lot, maybe I should try doing everything I want without hands for a change and see how far I get? Will be interesting.

Romy wrote:
An example you can see between 0:24 and 0:27, where your hip actually points away from Mucki’s hindquarters while you point towards them to make them move away. Perhaps a leftover from the Parelli days – in your first video you were doing this much more and I have seen Parelli people do that over and over when asking for turning away the hindquarters.
Now there you hit the nail on the head! I never questioned that stupid Parelli move, but it is - body language-wise - illogical.
Even more things to think about and try with Mucki :roll:.

Again, thank you so much Romy for taking your time and watching my video so closely. I´m sure I can put your feedback to good use and I hope you will see some differences - you just have to wait :green:.

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:01 pm 
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Great if it helped you a little and I am looking forward to reading about your experiences with it.

Houyhnhnm wrote:
Do you have any ideas how I can train this? Maybe do some exercises in front of a mirror? :lol:


Actually I do this sometimes, although not with a mirror but while I am walking in the street, sitting at my desk or other situations like that. But then the problem is that you don't get feedback if it works. This is why my personal favourite training tool is Pia.

She is totally clear in telling me if I am doing things right or not. In this she differs from both my other horses: Titum reacts rather precisely to meso and micro cues if he feels like it but ignores them if he has another exercise or move in mind. Summy reacts more reliably than Titum, but he takes into account what I might want to say with that cue, whereas Pia simply does what the cue says. Luckily she never really learned that her reaction could be the wrong response but only that I might have given the wrong cue.

Mucki also seems very sensitive, so I think you can learn all you need by directly interacting with him. If you have the chance to train with a dog, I can also highly recommend that. At least the dogs that I know are so incredible in reading micro cues, doing things like sitting down in response to a slightly raised body tension. However, I feel like with dogs I am also more likely to get false positives, with the dog reacting way better than my cue actually was. ;)

Houyhnhnm wrote:
Maybe I can work out some preparational "cue" that initiates a request, or something? Now that I think about it, I think I already do something like that at times... :idea:
The question is if there can be a generic sign for that, or like you also say maybe this should be a very low level version of the specific cue for the exercise...


Yes indeed, I think the preparational micro cues are at least part of the answer why horses who are highly sensitive to body language don't react to unintended moves more than usual.

Concerning the specific form of preparational cues, I think that for me it's both, because they build up over time: a preparational cue starts as an unspecific signal that predicts just any request and then changes into something specifically predicting the exercise, until it fluently changes into the cue for the exercise itself.

Let's take backing up, because I think it's just one of the easiest things to suggest with body language. First I look at the horse, which is an unspecific predictor of any request. Then I breath in and raise my body tension, which in the beginning is still rather unspecific, but the stronger it gets, the more it suggests that the request will have to do with moving away from me in some way, because for moving towards me, some of my body parts would have started moving away from the horse sooner. Only a tad later (if later at all) it begins suggesting that the movement won't be lateral, because if it was, my focus and body would have shifted to the left or right by then. When my movement doesn't go upwards, it most certainly won't be a cue for rearing, so as time goes by the predictor cue narrows the possibilities down more and more. When the hip movement finally comes, the horse is already anticipating this so strongly that only a tiny shift will be necessary to ask him for a reaction - just because most of the uncertainty has been taken away already.

Houyhnhnm wrote:
Romy wrote:
For example when you walk away from Mucki and ask him to stay from 1:03-1:08, nothing in your body language suggests that he should stay.
Actually I do something, but I´m not sure if it' appropriate. I try to disengage my focus or something like that, so I don't send any signal to Mucki. I found it hard to point with my hips in his direction, while moving backward :). But maybe disengaging my focus leaves Mucki alone too much?


Wouldn't this cue be more appropriate if your request was for him to do just whatever he likes now? Or is standing still the default behavior for him in the time when you are not interacting?

I can imagine that using the hips is hard while walking backwards. :funny: But here using your body tension and straightness as a cue helps a lot. In the Imperia video you can see me try this from 2:54 - 3:28, just as an illustration of what I mean.

Houyhnhnm wrote:
Yes, I do use my hands a lot, maybe I should try doing everything I want without hands for a change and see how far I get? Will be interesting.


This may sound totally crazy, but when I should name the five best things in relation to horses that happened to me since I came to AND, one of them (maybe right after having found Pia) would be that I was hit by a tram in 2009. The great thing about this is that I broke my arm, and not being able to use it as a meaningful part of our training for weeks meant that I had to find something else to make myself understood. This was the actual beginning of my body language journey. I had used my body to some degree before and had also heard about using the hips, but really having to do this opened up a whole new world to me. Had I known this before, I guess I would have tied my arms to my body to learn communicating arm-less long ago. :green:


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:26 am 
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Romy wrote:
Actually I do this sometimes, although not with a mirror but while I am walking in the street, sitting at my desk or other situations like that. But then the problem is that you don’t get feedback if it works.
I also do stuff while walking to work :lol:. Like trying to walk with pelvis tilted up or down, lift shoulders, focus on certain body parts and so on. When I try to get a glimpse of my posture in shopping windows or car windows, people must think I´m utterly crazy, vain or both. :blush:
The main problem is that I can do such things as isolated exercises, but include this in my training with Mucki usually results in me focusing on one body part too much and forgetting all the rest. It also happens when I ride. I guess multi-tasking is not one of my strengths - if I concentrate on one part, all the others fall apart :(.

Romy wrote:
Concerning the specific form of preparational cues, I think that for me it’s both, because they build up over time: a preparational cue starts as an unspecific signal that predicts just any request and then changes into something specifically predicting the exercise, until it fluently changes into the cue for the exercise itself.
Ui, this is advanced stuff. I guess I do some things like that unknowingly, but to really be able to work on that will take me some time... But I think I can imagine what you mean...

Romy wrote:
Actually I do this sometimes, although not with a mirror but while I am walking in the street, sitting at my desk or other situations like that. But then the problem is that you don’t get feedback if it works.
I also do stuff while walking to work :lol:. Like trying to walk with pelvis tilted up or down, lift shoulders, focus on certain body parts and so on. When I try to get a glimpse of my posture in shopping windows or car windows, people must think I´m utterly crazy, vain or both. :blush:
The main problem is that I can do such things as isolated exercises, but include this in my training with Mucki usually results in me focusing on one body part too much and forgetting all the rest. It also happens when I ride. I guess multi-tasking is not one of my strengths - if I concentrate on one part, all the others fall apart :(.

Romy wrote:
In the Imperia video you can see me try this from 2:54 - 3:28, just as an illustration of what I mean.
Thanks for point me to that video again, I have seen it some months ago and I love it. Actually it started the whole body language adventure for me - thank you a lot for that! :f: I will study it again.
I just had the idea that it would be great to have some kind of video/picture collection of body language. Maybe isolated exercises, like in your video with Imperia, done by different people. It is so useful for me to actually see those things in motion, not only describe them by words. Especially since so many of us here are not native English speakers, there´s always the chance of describing some of those intricate movements and reactions inadequately.

Romy wrote:
This may sound totally crazy, but when I should name the five best things in relation to horses that happened to me since I came to AND, one of them (maybe right after having found Pia) would be that I was hit by a tram in 2009.
:funny: That does indeed sound crazy, at least for someone not familiar with AND, because here we are all utterly nuts already :colors:.

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Having fun following the posts, even if the subject does seem to be going over my head a bit. 8) Just wanted to add though:

Houyhnhnm wrote:
I also do stuff while walking to work :lol:. Like trying to walk with pelvis tilted up or down, lift shoulders, focus on certain body parts and so on. When I try to get a glimpse of my posture in shopping windows or car windows, people must think I´m utterly crazy, vain or both. :blush:

I do the same thing walking from my car, to my building. :funny:
I also have been working on various "riding simulation" exercises in front of the full length mirror in the ladies bathroom during my lunch hour. More than once someone has walked in during the middle of my 'Piaffe exercise' and they probably think I'm insane! :roll: :funny: :funny: :funny: "Prancing" and looking sideways in the mirror with my hand on the back of my pelvis to gauge the amount of tilt.

I have often wondered if we should have a thread of collected human anatomy (our members) static pictures and video of various positions and exercises (not muscle training to more balance/correctness oriented) to become more aware of one's body: torso, pelvis, legs, chest/ribcage, arms etc.
I personally had very little lower body "awareness" between my ribs and knees until I started to learn belly dancing more recently, I think many people suffer from similar situations and feel clumsy when trying to work with their horses in this way in the beginning.

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