The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:36 pm 
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great!

Well, Owen and I have our work cut out for us... And later on Ralph.
And of course we could film some of my students as well... Can't wait to get started, but we need winter to end first... and more time...

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 4:37 am 
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Josepha wrote:
Now, when the horse goes into walk or trot, I follow the sideways movement of the two back halfs with my seatbones. They are like tiny feet in my buttocks, walking on the saddle.



Yes!! Love the tiny feet analogy! Learning to feel that sideways movement was such an epiphany for me, and Jack too, who immediately relaxed and started to use his back better and then of course started moving better!!!!

Here is a short clip that I posted a while back in the Centered Riding thread of my CR instructor demonstrating 'feeling both sides of the horse' on a small trampoline:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0c3SHQjKb0

Brenda

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:52 am 

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Remind me to read all this again before I start riding Harlequin.
It's great! :)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:12 pm 
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Ella wrote:
Remind me to read all this again before I start riding Harlequin.
It's great! :)


Hey Ella, I'll promise to remind you if you promise to remind me before I start really riding Circe!

:D

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Leigh

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:47 am 
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Just found this thread again because Romy was kind enough to point Jocelyne towards it from Josepha's Five Steps thread....

And I'm so delighted that this popped up again -- I'd completely forgotten this and looking at it again, the timing couldn't be better.

I've been getting on Stardust recently and letting him decide when and where we're going to move, which has been a great psychological process for him (freeing him to feel okay about me being on him in another new way...), and at least as much for me, both psychologically and also kinesthetically --

I am SO not used to not being the movement instigator on him that it's fascinating being completely a passenger and feeling how the movement begins in his body when it's his choice.

It absolutely starts in the hind. SO clearly! (This is one of the cool things about being on a horse this big -- his movements are big enough as they travel through his body they're pretty darn easy to feel.)

And instinctively but with a heck of a lot less finesse than Sue and Josepha describe here, I am opening as he walks forward. (I'm trying very hard to do nothing but have a huggy butt when waiting for him to decide what he wants to do -- my focus is on staying as soft and light and loving on his back as I can with no editorializing) -- and as he makes that first move to walk on, I'm softening and opening to say, 'yes! this feels good for me, too!'

As an aside, I'm realizing how much human nerves get in the way with all of this -- I feel infinitely more confident/comfortable on SD now than I did a year ago because I think we know and trust each other so much more fully, and I don't feel that little stab of "eek! here we go" nerves as he starts to move out that I often did in the past -- I'm guessing that many, many horses and many, many people are dealing with that jolt and the simultaneous instinctive "closing down" of energy that comes with it, which becomes part of the leg on/pressure/close down cycle.

....(pause for the day's activities 8) )...

Rode SD today and am SOOOO glad I came across this thread before I did! He snacked and then wasn't sure he wanted to move, doing a little fretty head tossing. Because this was so close to the surface for me, I was able to resist the instinct to put leg on him and instead opened my energy to the front (Scarlett O'Hara, eat your heart out! :funny: ) and he eventually decided that walking out was okay.

Best part is that he actually decided to wander the ranch and even trot w/out my urging...the trotting happened because we were walking along the pasture edge where sister Circe was imprisoned (her word, not mine) and as she trotted out, he joined her.

Very, very cool. (For those reading and not following our adventures, I'm finally getting back on Stardust pretty regularly after about a year's break of riding post breakdown about it last spring when I began with AND. I'm am truly just passenger riding to the best of my ability at this point -- the goal is to recalibrate riding as something w/no tension or fear. We've made big strides with this in the last couple of weeks -- both, I think, because we've done so much work building the friendship over the last year and broken some of his old expectations and also because I've come so far in breaking my expectations, too.

The longer I explore AND the more convinced I am that the learning is mostly on my end.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:44 am 
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this is so weird but I just practiced this last week. I had completely forgotten about this post. I read it tonight and I must read it again to make sure I understand everything.

When I mounted Magik, I let him go where he wanted without fussing if he walked or stopped. The only thing I asked of him is that he not walk when I'm getting on which he respected. After that, I told myself that I would not use the hackamore nor my legs. Just see what he does. He did walk to the gate of the r.p. but that was ok. I used that to feel his movement. I only stayed on for about 10 minutes but I believe this was my best experience so far because I know Magik was happy.

thanks for this wonderful post.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:15 am 
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Wow. Just found this again after a year -- I posted that post a couple of weeks before SD and I had the big fall, and it disappeared into the ethos for me.

Am SO glad I found it again, because Circe and I are just starting to get focused again about moving forward together -- right now, this is on the ground w/one arm over her back -- this is going to help us, I think -- I've been leaning/pushing forward, even from the ground, and we've been working through how this can get her fretful -- which is partly about my emotional stuff, I am sure -- but I'm reading this and realizing that I'm also fighting her instinct and that doesn't help, either.

Stealing and posting in my journal.

Thanks, Sue and Josepha!

xoxox
L.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:52 am 
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leaning forward produces backing. When wanting to go forward, take the shoulders back and the hips forward, opening the front of the body, breath deeply but energise yourself thinking forwards, squeeze buttocks and mostly off you go.
If not, let your calve drop from a loose knee onto the girth and release again, still no reaction repeat. Always release! Keeping the calves against the sides, even if they do not press may give the horse a feeling of restraint. With perhaps an extra click of the tongue every healthy horse will move off this way :)

For halting, relax all muscles, (my grandfather use to say: let the meat drop ha ha !) make yourself and lean a tiny bit forward.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:35 pm 
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Thank you!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:59 am 
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Last weekend I did some riding experiments again. With the accidental result of Mucki doing a jambette with me on the back :ieks:. That felt odd, but there was also a nice feeling of strength and balance 8).

Actually I tried to move forward ;). I thought about the advice I read here, tried to open up, not to lean forward, tried to think forward. Well... it didn´t work :blush:. I´m afraid I really have to learn to reach deeper into my own body and balance first. Whenever Mucki moves or shifts balance, I have the feeling of losing my own balance and more hampering him in finding out what I want to tell him :(.

I tried turns again by turning myself. That worked nicely. Then I tried to chain two turns left-right together. He did a little snaking forward movement. I rewarded every little bit of forward and felt that it dawned on Mucki what I tried to achieve.
Still I have the feeling of doing something wrong with going forward. Like holding him back somehow. Then again it was always hard to get him moving, even when leading him.

I keep trying...

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:34 pm 
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Volker, have you done any passenger riding on him -- letting him decide when/where/how he wants to go?

That has been a great intermediary step with Circe when we get a little bottled up -- in part because neither of us have to think so hard, and also because I can learn how it feels when she generates movement and I follow - the kind of energy level, etc. that she offers so I can do a better job of asking with the right level of intensity when I do ask...

I can get way too loud without realizing it!

Best,
Leigh

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:39 pm 
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Leigh, I´d love to be a passenger, only he doesn´t move! :roll: His default is standing around. But maybe I should just sit passively and wait. He will move one day, won´t he? :D

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:11 pm 
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Oh, I'm sure he will. :funny:

I'd try combining it w/point to point play...

Miriam talks about it here: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=3654

Maybe that will get him interested in moving from spot to spot?

Circe and I first played this game in a little pasture with apple trees so she was inspired to pig out as I sat upon her dainty little back...

:f:

:D
Leigh

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:49 am 
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Or maybe while you are going for a walk in the forest? That's how I started riding Summy (and actually Titum as well, only that in his case the previous owners had been sitting on him a few times already before I bought him). It worked great, probably because a path naturally affords walking, so that's what they do. :smile:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:55 am 
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Indeed, walking in a arena does not make much sense to horses, one has to make the whole arena movement thing interesting :)

Maybe someone can have him chase the tiger when you are on him? That is how I mostly start with horses new to being ridden :)

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