• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Please Share Your Helpful Mental Images for Riding

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Please Share Your Helpful Mental Images for Riding

    You know what its like to struggle with something over and over until you think about it in just the right way? I had a lovely light bulb moment not long ago, and the solution was just to think of things differently. It was so simple, I wanted to kick myself for not thinking of it sooner!

    First I have to admit that I have a really bad tendency to use too much rein when the pony is naughty, and ride backwards when I should be focused on reminding my horse that he needs to be mindful of the leg and seat aids, and riding the correction back to front. One day, my instructor said "imagine your reins as stiff, like dressage whips, which you must push away from you to lengthen the neck and ride the horse into the contact." That image has made all the difference! I'm finally breaking this really bad habit, and riding a happier horse.

    I'd like to know what other mental images people are using to help them ride better? Where did you learn about them (trainer, book, other COTHers...)?
    Reasons I'm crazy, #37: I went out shopping for a pony and came home with a 17hh OTTB
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~

  • #2
    I think Sally Swift got 'em all in "Centered Riding". I always liked the "tree roots" image.
    Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by CFFarm View Post
      I think Sally Swift got 'em all in "Centered Riding".
      Ha! So true. But I can never remember everything I've read when I actually need to use it...
      Reasons I'm crazy, #37: I went out shopping for a pony and came home with a 17hh OTTB
      ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


      • #4
        I had an instructor tell me to envision squeezing an orange with my shoulder blades so I would keep my shoulders back instead of rounding them forward. When I actually remember to do this, it's pretty amazing the change in not just my posture, but my horse's too!
        The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
        Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


        • #5
          simple on chin up and frust the bust lol keeps your schoulders back


          • #6
            I read one in the back of DT a few months ago to help with your position in canter:

            Imagine you are riding on a skate board with your inside leg being the one that you are balancing on top of the skateboard with and your outside leg is the one pushing you forward. It helps keep you on your inside seat bone with that leg at the girth while supporting with your outside leg slightly back in the canter cue position.

            I also like the one where you are a tree trunk from the tip of your head to your tail bone and your body must move as one piece be it posting or just sitting tall.

            And one that helped me with getting my leg in a proper position - imagine your femur (thigh bone) has an arrow that points out through your knee. That arrow should point more towards the ground than out in front of you. That helped me from keeping my hip and knee angles too closed.

            Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!


            • #7
              I heard an instructor threaten to put a "three penny nail" on the collar bone of a student who was looking down.

              --Becky in TX
              Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
              She who throws dirt is losing ground.


              • #8
                I agree that Sally Swift was a pioneer in helping you answer your question.

                For me...#1 is "soft eyes". I never focus look hard at letters, circles, the wall, horses ears, ground. It may be that I liked that one because that tip was easy for me as I've always been a big user of my peripheral vision.

                Re: hands? Clearly the "don't squish the little birds in your hands, but don't let them fly away".... What a useful image! Little birdies wiggle in one's hands, and so does a horses head -- and how your hands handle that is felt on the bars of your horse's mouth.

                "Tree trunks/roots" were also great for my legs, thighs and stopped me from gripping. Allowed me to relax into the movement of the horse, then learn how to influence it. Her imagery for finding your core was also wonderful as well.

                If you can get her original book do so...I actually found the book, when I got it back in the late 80's (and didn't share the experience for being deemed a fruitcake by my horse friends...), was better than the video series for me. I found the drawings in the book spoke to me more effectively because I relate to things visually -- and I could refer to them over and over again.

                I was so glad when SSwift became mainstream -- and hope her incredible work remains so. LOTS of lightbulb moments come with it.

                Good post!
                www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


                • #9
                  A couple of weeks ago my instructor went to a Mary Wanless clinic of which I was able to audit her first day's ride. She now in corporates her "arm cuffs" into my thinking and to help me cement my arm cuffs into place, to think of having screws that connect my chest to my shoulder blade area. Harder for me to describe into words, but when used with the instructor's visuals and placement of hands on me, I can actually feel my body "tighten" and stay together in those places.


                  • #10
                    Oh! A word pictures thread, brilliant idea

                    here are some for rider position/correction of pelvis:
                    ~your crown pushes against the sky while your knees press against the earth
                    ~straight, stacked spine
                    ~the energy flows off the backs of your ears and trickles down the back of your body and drips off your heels
                    ~for downward transitions, visualize compressing a ball between your hands and your center.
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble


                    • #11
                      My trainer is wonderful!! I'm apparently daft and cannot comprehend what normal people can... so she always has to use different visuals for me. But she's so good at realizing how "special" I am...

                      To keep my spine straight.. she has me imagine I'm stacking each vertebral body on top of the other.
                      My left shoulder wants to hang and hold and roll forward, so she did the whole "roll it back and down" thing but stuck her finger right in my shoulder blade and told me to bring my shoulder "there"! And it works.. I just get it now.

                      Also.. the whole canter seat... she told me to imagine riding bareback and it worked. And then to abduct my thighs.. which in turns lengthens my leg, turns my toe back in, and puts even pressure down my horses side. The whole toes in never works.. Heels out does.. but abducting my thighs works best

                      Love these things!!! Great thread.


                      • #12
                        great thread, the visual of the ball being compressed between my core and my hands- done: I instinctively tightened my core to prepare to control that invisible call...

                        the skateboard analogy was good too, just make sure your inside foot doesn't pull your inside shoulder along for the ride!


                        • #13
                          My trainer told me to think of a parachute opening between my shoulders, really helps in the downwards.

                          To help keep myself from collapsing, I also think about riding with a banner pole, like the Household Cavalry musical ride, or use a Wanless image about being a carousel pole in the middle of the horse.
                          Ring the bells that still can ring
                          Forget your perfect offering
                          There is a crack in everything
                          That's how the light gets in.


                          • #14
                            A simple thing that really helped me: Rather then thinking of keeping my shoulders back (I'm also a huncher), I now think of keeping my UPPER ARM back. This helps me keep a still soft hand, open chest and engaged core as well. Such a simple concept, wish I'd had it expressed to me that way years ago!
                            bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                            free bar.ka and tidy rabbit


                            • #15
                              Hummm... Very interesting thread.

                              For people who want to roll up: "Put your heels, hips, head against the imaginary wall behind you." Also, for females: "Think of your breasts as apples, put your apples on a plate, not in a bowl." This one always makes people grin.

                              I think soft eye focus is very important. I love Sally Swift's teaching!


                              • #16
                                I'm totally blaming ACP if I fall off my horse tonight because of laughter at the thought of putting my "apples" on a plate!

                                In canter, I focus on keeping the distance between my horse's crest and my sternum long and consistent (stops the shoulder pumping and forward tendencies from my hunter days).

                                And I love the "stacking" idea through the spine...Swift uses this one, too.


                                • #17
                                  Oooh.. I like the upper arms back thought!!!


                                  • #18
                                    The first thing I thought of was Sally Swift - but you guys have already said that.
                                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                    • #19
                                      I've had a few that I figured out in the past couple of months:

                                      1.) Leading with your outside hip and opposed to staying completely square in the saddle and move one leg and one hand. I apparently am able to disengage all my appendages separately from my trunk, by leading with my outside hip I use my entire body to support my horse. It also helps my collapsing shoulders around corners, oddly enough.

                                      2.) Pelvic loop in order to keep my hips and core "upright" and as a stabilizer and my shoulders in a naturally back position. I can really force my shoulders back, but it forms a really unnatural arch in my lower back and I end up sticking my butt out (basically I form a severe "S"). I think of tucking my tail under, bringing my thighs deeper into my hip sockets and my pubic bone "up" in a loop. I got it from a yoga class, it made soo much sense in the saddle!


                                      • #20
                                        Timely thread and great idea!
                                        I am reading Mary Wanless' Ride With Your Mind and it is amazing how her mental images affect my riding.
                                        Thigh bones like iron bars
                                        Pressing upper body to an iron gate
                                        on a circle, advancing inside hip to align seat bones with horse's long back muscles (very helpful because on a left circle, I tend to pull on the inside rein too much). For this I think of Fencing, which I've competed in as a kid and although it might seem exaggerated position, it's what I need to get the correct position.
                                        Bear down (as if going to the bathroom!) instead of sucking stomach in
                                        etc. etc.
                                        Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!