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We Are Flying Solo

December 19, 2009

Because You Can't Ride On Ice

The temperature hovers around a balmy 32 F today. You will have to excuse me if I am less than enthusiastic, but seeing as I moved to the South to ESCAPE winter, I become rather whiny and crabby when it pursues me despite my best efforts.

But Solo has been performing well this week. His canter work gets better every day as I figure out how to stay soft and patient for longer periods. I could go over the indoor, but I just dislike riding in those things. So he can just hang out in the pasture today and enjoy the snowy companionship of Jeff, his TB buddy. I stopped by to wrap up Solo's tail to keep it up out of the mud, just another step to reduce maintenance.

Since the onset of this lovely season, I've been perusing a DVD lent to me in my downtime: Jane Savoie's "Program Your Position." Defintely plenty of giggle-worthy parts; Savoie is a great teacher, but she is always so darn cheerful about the MOST random things, it makes me laugh. It's a series of both five audio CD's and three DVD's which use visual keywords to help you develop a better position. Given that I am a steadfast visual learner, I find several of these to be helpful additions to the mental rolodex. Many are things that P has already incorporated into our dressage lessons, but a few are new to me and will address nasty little habitses of mine.

(1) Imagine holding a full bucket of water nestled down in the pelvic girdle, keeping the bucket perfectly upright so it doesn't spill out water forward (as I have a tendency to tip forward and spill my water right over that front lip!).

(2) Visualize sitting on a bullseye with a level on the hips and lifting legs out laterally to make sure weight in seatbones is even on both sides and weight is centered.

(3) Instead of the common "toes in", think instead "heel out" to straighten foot and drape leg. I've already tried this one and it WORKS.

(4) Rolling both the shoulders and the head and neck during the walk warmup to loosen stiff muscles and encourage the shoulders to open and the head and neck to rest back against the back of your collar.

There is also one whole DVD in the collection just about sitting trot, so that is the next one I'm putting in the player. I'm starting to get a feel for the sitting trot but I figure every viewpoint I can get can't hurt!


  1. Ooooooh I like the heels out idea. I have the nasty habit of sticking my toes out, and have never found a way to correct it. Now I just have to find a horse to practice it on....

  2. Oooh please do a pointers section from the sitting trot video!! The sitting trot is the bane of my existence as far as riding goes...I'm fine on a gentle trotter but a big bouncy guy like my TB just kills me! And I love Mr. Mosco because when I ride him bareback he'll do this WP jog so that I won't lose my balance or break his Once Bounce Rule (you get one free bounce & then we are transitioning to a walk til you stop riding like a sack of potatoes). Glad you're getting something productive out of the nasty weather!! There is definitely not a lot of riding going on in my Iowa barn right now :)

  3. Hhhhhmmm, I'm confused -- I thought the toe was supposed to be very slightly out. At least, that's what I've read about a gazillion times in GM's Jumping Clinic. ????

  4. Hahahah, I like the One Bounce Rule, that's funny.

    Frizz, for dressage they want a soft drapey leg and to make sure you are not riding on the back of your calf, the foot should be closer to parallel with the horse. Also in dressage, the heel is not as far down. Since your ankle is supposed to be very loose and soft, it goes up and down to absorb the horse's motion.

  5. Interesting. Egads, there is so much that I need to learn! For crap's sake, I am still working on my "hunter legs." Now i have to learn dressage legs!

  6. Oh yes, and by the way, hunter legs ruin dressage legs, LOL. I need whole separate compartments of my brain in which to store where my muscles are supposed to be for each discipline, LOL!