I was teaching this morning and my client has been working on reducing the amount of work her hands do during turning and increasing the “push” from her legs. Unfortunately, on the left rein her instinct when I say “ride a circle” is to pull on the inside rein then back it up with her leg.
So I tried to change her way of thinking. I got her to imagine Newton’s Cradle and how the energy passes through the balls and then we compared that to her riding. If, for example, she was riding a left circle I wanted her to use her right leg behind the girth and imagine the energy flowing from her leg diagonally through her body, pushing the right hip forwards on it’s way, knocking the left shoulder back and then finally pushing her left (inside) rein open slightly to guide her horse. As the rein opened her hand was pushed forwards fractionally. This was mainly intended to stop her opening and pulling back with the inside hand, and for it to become more of a guiding, and fine tuning aid. By encouraging her to think of her hand and rein being pushed open and forwards I hoped she would create a more positive aid and her horse wouldn’t feel he had to draw back with his head and neck, and continue taking the contact forwards as he went.
Ultimately, it changed her way of thinking so that she turned in a more positive and forwards way, so her horse didn’t fall in on the circles. The right rein was much improved, and after experimenting again on the left we discovered that the left hand compensates for the ineffectiveness of her right leg. Which was caused by her collapsing to the left. From then on, every movement was preceded by a check of her outside seat bone, to ensure she was even in the saddle. The outside leg could then work effectively and the Newton’s Cradle of energy could flow through her and her horse’s body, which resulted in a more fluent motion, with her looking like she was one unit, rather than different limbs which were all trying to do their jobs independently.