I don’t ride with a trainer anymore so I often ask for advice on my blog. THANK YOU to everyone who takes the time to comment. I’ve learned so much by reading the advice of so many riders. For months and months and months I’ve been trying to improve my leg position. While I’m not perfect, I feel like I have a handle on what I’m supposed to be doing with my legs. My heel stays down pretty well and it feels normal to have my leg underneath me for that hip to heel line. So let’s move on to my hands.
For years I’ve ridden with my ring finger loose on the reins. I thought I was being kind to my horse by not pulling on his mouth. Turns out, according to Jane Savoie (Olympic dressage coach), that loose fingers result in a stiff wrist, which results in uneven contact, which results in an annoyed horse. Apparently my attempt to be kind was just sucky riding. This is why we ride with trainers, people. This stuff is not always just common sense.
I’ve made a conscious effort to close my fingers and keep even contact. I know that at the walk I’m supposed to have “following hands” that move forward and back as the horse’s head moves. That’s second nature to me now, but something I had to concentrate on in the beginning. At the trot my hands can stay still because the horse’s head doesn’t move like it does at the walk. But what about the canter? I’m supposed to have following hands at the canter too, right?
I’m figuring out how NOT to balance with the reins at the canter. I’m concentrating on letting my arms move forward as Baron’s head moves forward, and not balancing myself with the reins at the canter.
Baron has a big canter. By “big” I mean that he loves to canter and he has a lot of upward movement, impulsion I suppose you would call it. I can feel so much energy underneath me and I can tell that he truly loves a good canter. He works hard at the trot, but it’s work. He LIKES to canter. I’ve said it before; Baron is FUN to ride!
So any hand/ arm tips would be appreciated. How can I have softer hands? Bent elbows? Tighter pinkies?