The other weekend I rode in a clinic with Dr. Christian Schacht. I've audited and clinic'd with him previously; he always refreshes and re-energizes my enthusiasm for dressage. This time I took away several nuggets about using my body more effectively and subtly. Here are my main takeaways:
At the trot, do not squeeze with both legs at the same time. Rather, do one leg at a time, alternating in rhythm, that goes with (not against) the movement of the horse's rib-cage. Alternatively, you can use inside leg only.
The down transition from canter should be heavy outside seat, with minimal hand.
On a circle, look out over your horse's outside ear. Point your bellybutton in the direction of your horse's flexion.
Do not pick up the canter when leaving the rail (at my level), as you want to be able to release the inside rein which you cannot do if you are leaving the rail for a circle.
When thinking of stretching down, really think about lifting the withers up.
"Tense him" on the short side to prepare for extended anything.
Then "hold him" by keeping the contact - do not lose it all out the front.
Never pet the horse with the outside hand.
Hunch! Hide your boobs! Round your back! No straight back, as that leads to stiff hips and less effective seat aids. A bucket of water attached to your hip should spill out the back, not towards the front.
Think of posting up and backwards, not forwards.
The horse's body moves in 3 directions:
up and down
forward and back
side to side
Riders mostly ignore the side to side motion. We need softer, following hips to ride properly.
Dressage is a performance; the judge is your audience.
Be sure you have clear, penetrating eye contact with a smile and a confident attitude.
Do not channel "gee, sorry to take up 5 minutes of your time"...
Instead, channel "you will watch *me* for 5 minutes! Huzzah!"
Karen of Not-So-Speedy Dressage participated with her horse Izzy, who is just as gorgeous in real life as he is in pictures! We got to spend some fun time together which was awesome.
|Me, Dr. Schacht, and Karen.|