Monday, July 13, 2015
Back when I rode Harv, I thought I understood light hands -- I didn't have 'em, but I thought I knew what light hands were.
I did not.
Now, on Riley, I thought most of my "contact problems" resulted from rein length -- I just could not seem to maintain a proper length of rein. That is part of the problem -- but really it is a problem of understanding contact, my upper body, the relationship of hip to hand, and what it should be versus what I do.
When Ri and I are not in sync, it's tempting to use contact as the "go-to fix it" strategy. Too much focus on the hands, not enough on the seat, is the wrong equation. Mary Wanless used to ask riders what percentage of their time is spent thinking about what part of their body, and the horse's body, do they spend the most time thinking about.
To progress, I have a new mantra, something like the Sally Swift "stubby legs" concept. Sally had us pretend we did not have a lower leg. I am telling myself to ride as if I have no hands -- or rather my hands are passive, giving, and "out of the picture" in fixing things.
With my hands no longer part of "the solution" to controlling the shoulder, to get roundness, or create bend -- by God, I'm using my seat! Riding 101.