(Tell you a secret, I can't really dance either. :wink: But for my horse I'd bring down the moon!
He also seemed to intuitively understand a little leaning forward for backing up
Actually, I don't think it's intuition; it's simple balance. KFH explains it in Dances with horses, and I've tried out the exercise that he gets his students to perform, where they piggy back each other and found that it's right. We THINK that by leaning our weight forward, the horse will need to step forward to counterbalance, but in fact it is the opposite. So, you can piggy back someone, ask them to lean forward, and you will find that you automatically step backwards to get in balance again. Ask them to lean back and you will push off forward. If you attempt to step back as they lean back, you will find yourself reeling, and trying to run backwards to catch them. It's highly illuminating.
Same with turning left and right. We often think we need to lean left to influence the horse to move left underneath us, but it offbalances them. They "fall into the turn" right? So, as Donald describes, it's the slight weight shift to the outside that influences them to step to the inside.
Interesting huh. You've all just gotta go find a partner to piggy back and try this!
With the left and right, by lightening your inside hip, you also make a space for the inside shoulder to lift as it needs to to shift over. A turn begins with the inside leg placement. This is fun to practice with human horses as well. Get on four legs, get someone to ride you, sitting up near your shoulders, ask them to push down on your inside shoulder as you attempt to move your inside "leg" over to begin the turn.. you will likely as not topple on your nose.
THen get them to weight the outside shoulder, and you will probably find that to balance yourself, you will want to lift and place your inside "leg" further to the inside.
Looking forward to seeing next vids!
Ah, yes, precisely.
I do so wish riders would learn this. Horses suffer greatly, I think, when having to constantly catch their balance under us, whereas this allows them to control YOUR weight on their back.
Truly empowers the horse.
I think of it, sometimes, as 'opening the way' for the horse. I have to unload the side I wish him to go toward, so that it is freed to move.
And it becomes, in time, not only the allowance of that freedom, but the cue itself.
Thankfully that's not a skill I've lost from not riding for so long. It came back in minutes on the first horse I rode last fall.
I'm only now just recovering the ability in riding to also do this in forward movement. And it's not just transitions, but in fact there is a way to do it for every stride of the horse.
It can be practiced at the walk much more easily, but it's at the trot where it pays off for the horse and allowing him his freedom to move.
One can change the trot into a very free forward movement, dynamic and yet smooth, by a oscillation of the pelvis, as though each side is making a small circle.
It mimics the same oscillation of the horses hips ... though I could not tell you exactly if it duplicates, leads, or follows. Possibly all three depending on what you want to ask of the horse, and what you wish to free up in his hip and leg on each side at each stride.
But when the timing jells each side, hip and buttock, is drawn forward by the horse's movement, just as we are describing for the turn.
I'm not sure oscillation is the word I want, but I think it conveys my meaning.
And it requires a certain looseness, a flexibility of the hip and spine to allow this to happen. I had it for maybe 5 or six trot strides today, and then my old stiff body lost it.
But it's all coming back. And this will too. The more I ride the more flexible and strong my body becomes.
Dakota did rather well for having not been ridden in a couple of months. He triggered my movement by his own good reaching up under at the trot. It's an unmistakable feeling. His hips just rolled.
I find I can do it on the horse's back at walk and trot, but hard to do sitting on a chair. Possibly women find it easier to do.
And it's more likely recognized by feel and done more easily bareback, or possibly too on a treeless saddle.
Donald Redux 1965