Wednesday 3 February 2016

Dressage Weekend Part II

Don't worry guys, this one won't be nearly as long as Part I.

Part II - Saturday Simulator Lesson with Kerry

On Saturday I met Kerry for a lesson on the simulator. Kerry has been working with the simulator herself and with some of her students. She's relatively new to the simulator but has had a lot of success in the dressage ring on a number of real horses. This was my first time meeting her personally, but I scribed for some of her rides at the big shows last year so I knew she was a good rider. 

Kerry had a bit of a different focus from Nancy. She still used the simulator well but she would more frequently tell me that she didn't care what was happening up on the screen and instead look at my body directly to see what I was doing right or wrong. The simulator also has mirrors set up on either side and she was getting me to look in those a lot to see what my upper body was doing. 

We also had a few dressage theory discussions while halted. 
Some of her key theory concepts were:
- Think of the body as being made up of 5 blocks - 1. Head, 2. Shoulders/Chest, 3. Core/Seat, 4. Upper Legs, 5. Lower Legs/Feet. Think of always having those blocks stacked up in a straight line as that is where you will be strongest.
- Think of riding the horse inside a 12' box. You must ride the horse forward to the front of the box, but bring them back when they get strung out and leave the box.  
- The number one thing is rider position. The other number one thing is forward. After that comes bend, and then frame. 

This is the only photo I managed to grab of
the simulator, so you get to look at it again

Notes from Lesson with Kerry:

- keep hands closed always, even pinky finger
- Keep toes pointed forward always, and especially when giving aids
- Roll shoulders back but hold them wide and above the other blocks, not behind
- Keep elbows in and hands up and forward
- Don't lean back in half halt, think pinch shoulder blades together instead
- Keep upper body quiet while doing small scoops with my hips at the canter - things feel like they slow down and get quiet when I get it right
- Don't push my inside leg forward when asking for canter or shoulder-in
- Never let the horse give up my position
- Right leg position better than left
- Post the trot to slow down the tempo and use half halts to bring the horse back to the 12' square
- Don't push chin forward while scooping canter
- Don't let a reactive horse make me ride without legs on
- Stirrups are a good length for me

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