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Canter Position - Conflicting Information

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  • #21
    Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
    Top riders usually have figured out the benefit of riding correctly.

    Look at the best when you watch video.Forget the rest.
    I will stand by my suggestion that watching top eventers doing dressage is of interest. There is always plenty to learn.

    "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

    Comment


    • #22
      The Mary Wanless concept, as I understand it which could be totally flawed, is about opening and closing the hip angle ... it isn't about leaning forward. If you want someone very capable doing it, they are very, very effective.

      But it's a bit of a different theory than the leaning back sort of approach you see frequently.

      The biomechanics are completely different. Both can work, but they are different philosophies.

      Comment


      • #23
        What I try to aspire to in my riding is to be perfectly erect, straight, not leaning back or forward, or sideways. Straightness is so important in dressage and if you're not straight or intentionally communicating something to the horse by way of seat bones or minor weight distribution, etc, then one should remain straight.

        Comment


        • #24
          A part of the equation that I think is generally easy to overlook is that we can think "straight" (or "behind" or "forward") and lose sight of what our backs are actually doing. You can be perfectly in line (shoulder/hip/heel) but still have your pelvis pointing down. Certain people are conformationally more predisposed to this (especially those with a more exaggerated arch in their lower back naturally, but reformed hunter riders also seem to struggle with this too) than others but the balance of the pelvis is I think what a lot instructors are focusing on when they tell riders to "lean back". They don't actually have any desire to have the rider's shoulders come back behind the vertical, but oftentimes it is the easiest way to free up the core and get a rider to engage it (and bring the "cup" of the pelvis, so to speak, up).

          Canter position to me, in my instruction, has always focused on that balance more than anything. Of course, it doesn't help that I have lordosis so am predisposed to being able to say "I'M IN ALIGNMENT WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT" without actually being in the proper balance.

          My instructor first showed me what proper pelvic angle really felt like when she told me to envision my shoulders coming back behind the vertical. Once I understood what that felt like, I could replicate it in the proper alignment (and yes, with a flat lower back as well).

          That said, there are moments where closing (or opening) the hip angle in the course of your canterwork isn't just happenstance but can actually be beneficial in specific instances. It's all very situational though and requires conscious consideration rather than accidental-rider-habits, though.

          Comment


          • #25
            Interestingly I have just tried working on this issue myself with the flying changes. I had watched the Mary video recently and slowed my own videos and noticed that I inadvertently lean back a little too much when the horse is on the down phase. I realised that it can from trying to swing my hips with the motion too much. If I had him *even more* in front of my leg, I didn't have to work so hard with my seat/hips, which was manifesting itself in my upper body. I wasn't hugely back and forth, but enough that I could feel myself doing it in the changes and didn't like it.

            Saddle also made a bit difference. Changing to short knee rolls helped a lot. I can move my leg more and seem to be fighting less in my seat.

            So in my experience- hip tightness, how much you are pushing with your seat, and saddle all can influence the biomechanics of your hip angle and how perpendicular you maintain your upper body relativative to the horse.
            Last edited by Moogles; May. 15, 2019, 02:11 PM.

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            • #26
              I'm reminded of Monica Theodorescu when people discuss leaning back (though more at the trot than the canter).
              Ganimedes was a big horse and didn't look easy to ride. I saw them eons ago in Los Angeles.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lOcS7bBoNs

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by skydy View Post
                I'm reminded of Monica Theodorescu when people discuss leaning back (though more at the trot than the canter).
                Ganimedes was a big horse and didn't look easy to ride. I saw them eons ago in Los Angeles.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lOcS7bBoNs
                That is exactly the kind of upper level rider I had in mind. She leans back when she needs to absorb the big gaits and is upright at the pirouette. Her legs are independent of her seat and so are her hands.

                It might be partly the effect of the flappy tail coat but she also seems to have extremely mobile hips and pelvis. She is moving a lot at the hips while the leg and torso stay still. I think she might have the kind of flexible scoopy lower back that on a hunter would give you that perched butt in the air inverted look. If that makes sense. Not lordosis just a scoopy lower back. Clearly a huge help on a horse that moves like this.

                I've seen beginner riders with no hands or seat lean way back over the cantle pumping away with every body part and it is not a pretty sight, or effective riding.

                I would say, go for correct and upright until you find yourself on an international Grand Prix horse, and then moderate as necessary to sit the trot

                Comment


                • #28
                  As a reminder, despite being upper level riders at big events, they are not robots.

                  What is the « ideal » position might not be possible at every second of every stride for an entire 5 minutes test.

                  It doesn’t mean those riders can’t have a perfect position at any other given time. They do what needs to be done in test and they also, like everybody else, fall into their weaknesses and make mistakes.

                  None, I assume, would teach their student to really lean back or forward. They would, on the other, explain biomechanic, balance, weight and overall influence of the rider’s body.

                  Aiming for perfection is what we should thrive for in the realm of our own capabilities.
                  ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                  Originally posted by LauraKY
                  I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                  HORSING mobile training app

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                    That is exactly the kind of upper level rider I had in mind. She leans back when she needs to absorb the big gaits and is upright at the pirouette. Her legs are independent of her seat and so are her hands.

                    It might be partly the effect of the flappy tail coat but she also seems to have extremely mobile hips and pelvis. She is moving a lot at the hips while the leg and torso stay still. I think she might have the kind of flexible scoopy lower back that on a hunter would give you that perched butt in the air inverted look. If that makes sense. Not lordosis just a scoopy lower back. Clearly a huge help on a horse that moves like this.

                    I've seen beginner riders with no hands or seat lean way back over the cantle pumping away with every body part and it is not a pretty sight, or effective riding.

                    I would say, go for correct and upright until you find yourself on an international Grand Prix horse, and then moderate as necessary to sit the trot
                    Yes, Monica certainly had an excellent instructor.

                    The video doesn't do justice to that horse. His movement at the trot was extraordinary. The amount of talent required to ride him was quite evident. I was very impressed.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      My understanding is: sit up so your core is what is supporting your upper body, and not your back (so sit back until your core grabs you). This might look different for different (human) conformations.
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        What each person should be looking for is their personal version of neutral spine. Which means you sit on the bottom of your pelvis. So evenly on both seat bones and pubic bone. Your conformation and flexibility/strength will determine how upright you can be and how following your hips will be during movement.

                        If you find neutral spine and honor where your leg hangs from there, vs trying to force your leg into an ideal look, you will be more successful.

                        In the video provided I would point out that the rider is sitting very correctly in neutral spine. She also has a slightly shorter stirrup (which I think is correct) so she can absorb motion in her knee and hip angle. She also has a curve in her lumbar spine which she needs to maintain to keep herself in neutral spine.

                        If you tried to take the curve out of someone with that type of build you would tip them back and push the seat bones down into the back of the horse, lifting the pubic bone. I have a somewhat similar build and have had many instructors try to remove that... but then I cannot function and it causes my back to ache and my stomach to become less engaged. Those instructors have focused on a look vs correct body alignment.

                        If you want to ride well I highly suggest finding an upper level rider that has a similar build to yours and watch how they ride. I am not built like Edward Gal or laura Graves, if I tried to ride like they do, I would be forever frustrated. Instead I find riders who have a bone conformation more like my own and watch/try to emulate them.

                        All correct riding comes from correct body alignment, which starts with neutral spine.
                        http://www.windsweptfarmllc.com

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Guyot View Post
                          What each person should be looking for is their personal version of neutral spine. Which means you sit on the bottom of your pelvis. So evenly on both seat bones and pubic bone. Your conformation and flexibility/strength will determine how upright you can be and how following your hips will be during movement.

                          If you find neutral spine and honor where your leg hangs from there, vs trying to force your leg into an ideal look, you will be more successful.

                          In the video provided I would point out that the rider is sitting very correctly in neutral spine. She also has a slightly shorter stirrup (which I think is correct) so she can absorb motion in her knee and hip angle. She also has a curve in her lumbar spine which she needs to maintain to keep herself in neutral spine.

                          If you tried to take the curve out of someone with that type of build you would tip them back and push the seat bones down into the back of the horse, lifting the pubic bone. I have a somewhat similar build and have had many instructors try to remove that... but then I cannot function and it causes my back to ache and my stomach to become less engaged. Those instructors have focused on a look vs correct body alignment.

                          If you want to ride well I highly suggest finding an upper level rider that has a similar build to yours and watch how they ride. I am not built like Edward Gal or laura Graves, if I tried to ride like they do, I would be forever frustrated. Instead I find riders who have a bone conformation more like my own and watch/try to emulate them.

                          All correct riding comes from correct body alignment, which starts with neutral spine.
                          Ok, so your point is basically that the important thing is how the seat bones or pelvic bones are aligned to the saddle, and that the visible position of the torso should facilitate this and should not interfere with this. But the visible position of the torso is not the prime indicator of where the pelvis is.

                          That seems like a really important point and one I'm going to mull over when I ride.

                          I still think the rider in the video is leaning back more than I would want to see an intermediate ammie on a modest moving horse try to copy, particularly because in that case they often end up sitting on their pockets like western riders and pumping their body.

                          But the video shows someone who is following the extravagant movement with her pelvis and keeping her torso still, which is impressive.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            When I was learning to canter, I visualized those Western Pleasure queens, head high, only hips moving. (admittedly a slow lope, but still a valuable image for me...). A few years later a trainer reminded me to let my hips lead and "pull" my torso with it. Don't let your torso be left behind, don't let it lead (as much as a hunter rider does). "Hips Forward".....

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by lorilu View Post
                              When I was learning to canter, I visualized those Western Pleasure queens, head high, only hips moving. (admittedly a slow lope, but still a valuable image for me...). A few years later a trainer reminded me to let my hips lead and "pull" my torso with it. Don't let your torso be left behind, don't let it lead (as much as a hunter rider does). "Hips Forward".....
                              Yes, when my canter in a dressage saddle goes well it's the same muscle memory as riding Western correctly.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Scribbler I would say that in a hypothetical lunge lesson if I wanted to educate a new seat my primary focus would be on the neutral spine or pelvic alignment. As development evolves the back and leg should start to come more into alignment of ear/hip/heel. During stages of learning and strengthening we need to allow that there will be more movement of the torso and extremities on that learning curve.

                                If as an an instructor I push that rider to fast they become sore and can develop a compensation pattern which will be hard to overcome because the muscle memory has been learned incorrectly.

                                If allowing the rider to use their upper body like a pendulum (for lack of a better word) they slowly thru time and effort of strength from their seat, can reduce the amount of “swing” of said pendulum until it is mostly gone without stress or tension. I find this also helps reduce tension in the arms and helps keep the connection more elastic.

                                Most people I teach that come from other trainers/disciplines have very stiff arms. They have been taught to hold their extremities in place which balance their bodies... but that is not good riding. Most look quite pretty up there at first glance but they are not overly effective.

                                By focusing on the pelvis and working outward to the extremities slowly as they can control them without loosing their base of support from the pelvis allows for these riders to be effective and develop feel for connection. At that point they all look quite pretty up there again, and they can ride in Harmony.

                                http://www.windsweptfarmllc.com

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Guyot View Post
                                  Scribbler I would say that in a hypothetical lunge lesson if I wanted to educate a new seat my primary focus would be on the neutral spine or pelvic alignment. As development evolves the back and leg should start to come more into alignment of ear/hip/heel. During stages of learning and strengthening we need to allow that there will be more movement of the torso and extremities on that learning curve.

                                  If as an an instructor I push that rider to fast they become sore and can develop a compensation pattern which will be hard to overcome because the muscle memory has been learned incorrectly.

                                  If allowing the rider to use their upper body like a pendulum (for lack of a better word) they slowly thru time and effort of strength from their seat, can reduce the amount of “swing” of said pendulum until it is mostly gone without stress or tension. I find this also helps reduce tension in the arms and helps keep the connection more elastic.

                                  Most people I teach that come from other trainers/disciplines have very stiff arms. They have been taught to hold their extremities in place which balance their bodies... but that is not good riding. Most look quite pretty up there at first glance but they are not overly effective.

                                  By focusing on the pelvis and working outward to the extremities slowly as they can control them without loosing their base of support from the pelvis allows for these riders to be effective and develop feel for connection. At that point they all look quite pretty up there again, and they can ride in Harmony.
                                  Ding Ding Ding! Winner! I totally tended to stiff arms because I was trying to keep them "in place". A strong base of support makes it easy to be loose and giving in the other areas of the body. But even last year, by trying to be secure in my base, I had too tight of hips. I was trying too hard, fighting the saddle a little, or overcompensating with my hips to encourage the horse (when really he just needed to be more honest in moving himself). I keep getting new little alignment pieces over the last year that have made a huge difference in my riding, and my horse's way of going. These things were easier to "hide" at the lower levels, but have become quite obvious as we train higher.

                                  I think this is one of the hardest things to teach and learn is the feeling associated with this. Positive and negative tension, getting alignment, when and what muscles to be soft and giving in yet being able to maintain influence.

                                  I've always said the good riders look 'at home' in the saddle. It is the effortlessness of how they maintain their position and influence the horse. That is insane body awareness and strength in the right places, yet being able to give freely in others.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I've read through all of these, and I agree that the back should be relatively straight, and its the pelvis angle that changes. Let me add another variable to the mix. Now for me, I have a 15+ hand FEI horse not born uphill with big gaits that lack a ton of suspension. And I have a 17+ hand youngster that is built WAY uphill whose gaits are not yet big but has lots of suspension. The angle of my pelvis is different on both of them (More open/on the "crotch" with the FEI horse/more closed/on the pockets with the younger), but just a matter of slight degrees. But based on their conformation, gaits, and training, you cannot ride them the same.
                                    From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.

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