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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Blitz & Wanless articles in Sept DT

    So, comments? I'll pick a few sentences from the Blitz article that sum up a lot of what is discussed.

    "Biomechanics is not about sitting in a pretty position but understanding the forces put on your body by your horse's movement and how to match those forces in the proper directions at the proper times. ... Really good riders who seem to expend little effort while sitting on big moving horses aren't up there simply being loose and relaxed. It's the same with an elite figure skater making her routine look easy or a ballerina seeming to defy gravity as she floats across the stage. They are all athletes working hard to look relaxed and understanding balance, strength and body awareness to an amazing level of detail."

    I believe Mary has been trying to get an article into DT for some time, so I am thrilled they finally agreed !



  2. #2
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    I think Heather is an elegant and super effective rider. And I have had a light bulb moment or two reading Mary Wanless books. I'm glad to see an article by them in DT.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post

    "Biomechanics is not about sitting in a pretty position but understanding the forces put on your body by your horse's movement and how to match those forces in the proper directions at the proper times. ... Really good riders who seem to expend little effort while sitting on big moving horses aren't up there simply being loose and relaxed. It's the same with an elite figure skater making her routine look easy or a ballerina seeming to defy gravity as she floats across the stage. They are all athletes working hard to look relaxed and understanding balance, strength and body awareness to an amazing level of detail."
    Now, how exactly is that helpful ? There's nothing quite like stating the glaringly obvious.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  4. #4
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    It is helpful because so many people are under the gross misconception that you are supposed to "go with the motion" and their ability to be super loose and all over the place is an asset. Hocks and backs pay the price.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  5. #5
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    Well said, EqTrainer! You are SO right, I see people on a DAILY basis who are flapping all over the place, contorting themselves to try to stay "with" the horse's motion. What Heather is saying about matching the horse's force so you can remain "still" is spot on. Courtney King-Dye said something in an article that has stuck with me: the rider should be exactly like the girth and saddle, going with the horse precisely but without interfering at all.



  6. #6
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    I have also had some HUGE lightbulb moments in my MW readings. I don't think I ever really could get a horse truly through and on the bit until I started implementing some of her biomechanics in my riding. It's also true what she says, talented riders/trainers don't even realize what they are doing to acheive their results, so they don't really know to impart that knowledge to their students. They focus more on applying aids (legs, hands) and working on the horse rather than teaching a student how to use their core strength and how to be properly positioned and balanced in the saddle. Once that is in place, everything else just "comes".



  7. #7
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    Yes, most of the above replies are addressing the ideas I would like to highlight.

    So much focused is placed (in daily lessons) on the rider "relaxing" and "suppling the horse." I am so happy that Mary and Heather have gotten a 'foot in the door' on the discussion in this important (and I'm pretty sure most visible) national dressage magazine.



  8. #8
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    Posted by WBLover:

    .... It's also true what she says, talented riders/trainers don't even realize what they are doing to acheive their results, so they don't really know to impart that knowledge to their students. They focus more on applying aids (legs, hands) and working on the horse rather than teaching a student how to use their core strength and how to be properly positioned and balanced in the saddle. Once that is in place, everything else just "comes".
    This ^ statement just shows how blatantly Americans refuse to study the basics .

    *Everything* begins with the proper *seat*. The SRS says it, Pony Club says it, and most modern (French, German, etc.) military horse programs, as well as the Classical Masters, all emphasize the seat as the first thing that must be properly developed. *Seat* includes the spine (torso and head), normally.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaroquePony View Post
    This ^ statement just shows how blatantly Americans refuse to study the basics .
    I don't think that's true exactly. I have met far more dedicated and studious instructors and trainers in my career than people who just want quick results for themselves and their students. Like others on this thread, I think the issue is with people not having the adequate tools to teach proper seat position. We need far more education about how to effectively lunge a rider, for example, and how to transfer knowledge of biomechanics in a way that allows students to feel, rather than encouraging them to tense up with concentration. This is where Mary Wanless and Sally Swift have been invaluable, and we should treasure their input.
    Proud COTH lurker since 2001.



  10. #10
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    Question online?

    Is the article online somewhere?
    breeder of Mercury!

    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans



  11. #11
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Equibrit View Post
    Now, how exactly is that helpful ? There's nothing quite like stating the glaringly obvious.
    Sadly to the average rider, and even to some UL riders it isn't.

    Many UL riders have been doing what they are doing for so long that their body corrects imbalances, and tiny and not so tiny shifts in rhythm, cadence and bend
    without them even thinking about it. This leaves us poor clods wondering why we are always consciously correcting something, forgetting how much we too accomplish automatically.

    So when teaching, they sometimes neglect such basics.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  12. #12
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    Now, how exactly is that helpful ? There's nothing quite like stating the glaringly obvious
    don't you remember the thread by blue domino?? There were a few there who thought you just sat there

    I had the pleasure of riding in a clinic with Mary last May. I really enjoyed it and took a lot home to work on. Effective position is not an easy thing to teach. Mary gave me some tools to also use with students.
    "When you think you don't need a coach ...then you're in trouble" Don Imus 2012



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost_at_C View Post
    Like others on this thread, I think the issue is with people not having the adequate tools to teach proper seat position. We need far more education about how to effectively lunge a rider, for example, and how to transfer knowledge of biomechanics in a way that allows students to feel, rather than encouraging them to tense up with concentration. This is where Mary Wanless and Sally Swift have been invaluable, and we should treasure their input.
    I have encountered very few trainers/instructors/clinicians who are even aware of what it is their students need to learn. The skill of riding is given far too little respect in its complexity, and its "Masters" have rarely been able to breach the gap between the supremely talented few and the rest of us...

    The SRS is well known for producing riders, but those riders are few and far between. Few of us would be accepted into, or make it through, the SRS program.

    Outside the SRS and the FEI are thousands upon thousands of the 'unwashed masses' who's horses deserve riders who can ride better then the current paradigm allows (at least in the USA.) Only lately have we been lucky enough to have a few riding instructors really try to break the skill set down into it's component parts.



  14. #14
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    Lightbulb

    But then we instructors find many times that for many riders they are "getting the job done" their way, and having to learn a new skill set is work.

    So that's why there are a lot of Training level riders. Because it takes a whole new skill set to get to that lateral work.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost_at_C View Post
    I don't think that's true exactly. I have met far more dedicated and studious instructors and trainers in my career than people who just want quick results for themselves and their students. Like others on this thread, I think the issue is with people not having the adequate tools to teach proper seat position. We need far more education about how to effectively lunge a rider, for example, and how to transfer knowledge of biomechanics in a way that allows students to feel, rather than encouraging them to tense up with concentration. This is where Mary Wanless and Sally Swift have been invaluable, and we should treasure their input.
    Then you are one of the fortunate ones. Sadly, I have met too many trainers/instructors who only work on getting a pseudo "look" of dressage and don't work much, if at all, on the basics of position and the locomotion of the horse and rider as a pair. ALL of my students go on the lunge periodically to help their position and seat improve and better influence their horses without all the leg-leg-leg - hand-hand-hand often seen in today's rides.

    I have had students question me on about why they can't do something more and I tell them, when they understand what they are doing (not necessarily master it), we will move along, but never turn our backs on what we have done to this point. I had a prospective student's father tell me he didn't want his child on the lunge because she was much further along than that. This child has NO seat!!!! Ego needs to stay out of horse sports! It's always the horse that suffers.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by runnyjump View Post
    Then you are one of the fortunate ones.
    Huh. Guess so. In all the years I was training and competing I found the shortcut-takers to be annoying but definitely in the minority. I retired from pro training about six years ago so perhaps some things have changed in that time. Still, I can say for certain that there are at least pockets of superbly dedicated students of dressage around the country. Clearly others' experiences have varied, and my opinion is based on working with horses and riders at Training-4th, primarily on the East Coast.
    Proud COTH lurker since 2001.



  17. #17
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    While I think it's terrific to write about the core effort required to *look* in harmony (with, still, whatever), the light bulb for me didn't come until I saw myself riding my horse last week. That's about 20 years of sorta-doing without understanding.

    That's also the first time I didn't lose my balance while trying to look sideways in the mirror.

    Maybe watching video clips during a lesson would help riders connect the look with the feel so they can see for themselves the difference between when they are *ahem* relaxed and when they are physically engaged. Seeing that difference may provide some incentive to work harder to achieve the better, more effective, result.
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=
    Dressage becomes art when it is a joy for the horse. -KBH

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  18. #18
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    I recently began reading Mary Wanless's "For the Good of the Rider" on the insistence of my PSG level friend. When I first read it, it made no sense whatsoever. However, I did two things: I decided to work on little bitty steps, one at a time and on horseback. Instead of trying to remember (I'm ADHD, it seems) all of the parts of Wanless's teachings, I work on just one step, just one, until it becomes second nature..on horseback.
    Only then does it make sense. For me, at least, reading it in the living room with two cats fighting for my one lap is merely an eye exercise. I have to force it into my overloaded brain. When I apply it on horseback, in the saddle, (or in my case, as I'm still looking for a saddle, bareback) THEN it makes sense.
    At this point, I'm still working on 'bearing down' and breathing, and I find that it DOES work. But I can't do it all at once. And it doesn't come all at once. I'll be concentrating so hard on doing what I'm doing that my lovely, patient, probably confused as hell horse will wander at will in the arena..but he seems to appreciate my efforts. Because, sometimes...it works. Sometimes, it WORKS...you will feel something click, something in your body and your horse comes together and it feels RIGHT. You have that "I get it!" moment for a few strides...and then it goes away.
    (Need I tell you that I'm a little long in the tooth, never had formal lessons, and wasn't lucky enough to be raised with horses?)
    But it comes enough to encourage me to keep on.

    I've read a lot of books on how to ride. Wanless's book makes sense to me. I am going to Heather's clinic in October. I hope to learn a lot more. I'm not interested in doing dressage competitively. I just want to learn to ride like they do.
    The best thing to do on a golf course is a GALLOP!



  19. #19
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    Thumbs up

    hrsmstr-Stick with it. The normal progression for transitions and half-halt learning is as you described it. Now you get it, now you can't, until finally it will become yours.

    And bless your patient teacher. Your horse.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
    While I think it's terrific to write about the core effort required to *look* in harmony (with, still, whatever), the light bulb for me didn't come until I saw myself riding my horse last week. That's about 20 years of sorta-doing without understanding.

    That's also the first time I didn't lose my balance while trying to look sideways in the mirror.

    Maybe watching video clips during a lesson would help riders connect the look with the feel so they can see for themselves the difference between when they are *ahem* relaxed and when they are physically engaged. Seeing that difference may provide some incentive to work harder to achieve the better, more effective, result.
    And Mary encourages everyone in her clinics to have a helper point a video camera at them. Your helper doesn't have to know anything about it, just point. I have a Flip camera I use, then upload the video to youtube and email the link to my students.

    Video can be painful (I know it hurts me A LOT !) but it is super effective at showing you what is going on. My favorite is to video riders from behind at the halt. Have them sit where the think they are straight, then straighten them and have them describe how it feels when they are truly more straight and not sitting in their more familiar, comfortable 'home' crooked. A good way for people to recognize that what 'feels' one way is likely not accurate.



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