Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Trainer: Kristin Corcoran Part II

 Recall that I'm having a struggle in my lesson with crookedness. Here's what happens...

Not Kristin, and not me, but this is "the demo"
The demo and regroup
My trainer Kristin and I are in the center of the ring, and Kristin stands next to us. She gets in a "riding position" and illustrates the key weaknesses in my position that are allowing or causing crookedness.  It's a body tendency I instantly recognize -- collapsing and uneven hips, over-rotating my upper body. Then she demonstrates how to correct each flaw, repositioning her own hips/torso, and guides me in making the same corrections. I do. She nods, but it's not yet 100%. She says, "move your hips and torso even more to the right." I do, and when I feel like I am close to toppling off the other side, she says, "now you are straight."

We walk on a circle and Kristin keeps a near the reins, monitoring my contact and position. Ri starts to fall, but instead of impulsively grabbing the right rein in a punishing way, I follow Kristin's instructions to "tuck in" the outside shoulder and gently pulse and release the outside rein, releasing instead of holding.  I add a little inside leg, and Ri responds by standing up more in his shoulder and stepping under. Yeah!

 Back on a circle
Kristin has me move on a circle around her.  Now, though I again feel like I'm practically falling over the outside,  I can't help but notice that that Riley is easily bending around my inside leg. And when his inside hind leg "threads" slightly between his two front feet, I feel his back lift and something clicks. His neck, which was stiff as a board, feels round and rubbery and he is moving more into the outside rein. I can't help but feel that he has been waiting for this all along. It's now easy to keep a light, quiet contact. The gears are aligned and he is flowing forward like a waterwheel. Now I can feel where he is between my seatbones, too.

Riley is now stepping lively. We move into a trot. I  tap with the inside leg, and Ri has a power surge! His back is soft and springy for a half-circle, and I have a place to sit comfortably. When I feel the energy dissipate,  Kristin reminds me to sit more to the outside (which makes me straight). Again, power surge!

On to Part III


  1. Me too with the crooked. I have been banished to riding with only one stirrup and jumping with only one stirrup and no reins.

  2. Finally. You are writing about riding again.

  3. Amazing how we think we are straight, centered and balanced and we are just nothing but wopperjaw all over the horse's back. Our poor PONIES!! I had a real problem with sitting UP because I came from a forward seat riding background. Also had a "custom in price only" saddle made for me by a moronic dolt who refused to correct the issues, telling me it was ME that didn't understand a saddle that was built for me (it measured 17" and I need an 18" unless it's a deep seat; then a 17.5 would work) and I strugged for six years before I finally gave up and went somewhere else. (Saddle fitters are like doctors--they don't like to criticize each other, either). You and Riley are going to be unbeatable once this straightness issue is settled. LOVE muscle memory!! It will be your friend.

  4. I have had this exact lesson (over and over again as I seem to be a slow learner) and it is amazing the difference these corrections make. My instructor reminds me to sometimes look at the outside ear (which positions me straight, but feel like I shift to the outside). She also tells me my hands are holding a basket (I think of a shopping cart) and she tells me to move my basket to the outside which also keeps me from overbending to the inside. These concepts have made such a dramatic difference in my riding and in my horse. Love that you could write about it so clearly!


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