Make it make sense!!

Ambers Echo

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Videos help me identify issues. But not necessarily solve them! My PIVO reveals a multitude of sins. My right hand bounces. No idea why. My left hand is still and you'd think I'd have more control over my dominant hand. But no, there is it bouncing up and down driving me totally mad. Trying to keep it still is not working so there must be instability elsewhere and the hand is counter balancing.

Found a Carl Hester pupil who is coming to the yard to do a clinic once a month. So I will try him.
 

Ambers Echo

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Arggh more confused than ever. SO, hips....

Years ago I had an off horse/on horse session with a physio and RI - like Andy T but not as famous! (And gained as little from her as from him so it's clearly me.... She has some big name clients).

She told me that on a turn I should slide my inside seat bone forward - we did it on the ground first and I was moving hips from one side to the other first angled way then angled the other as I simulated turning. So if my shoulders were turned towards the direction of travel my hips were aligned the other way. ie inside seat bone forward and outside shoulder forward as I turn. I found this so hard that we spent ages on the ground doing hips one way, shoulders the other. And I have carried that on as an exercise.

But yesterday I was told my shoulders need to stacked over my hips all the time. We tried cantering circle over poles with no reins, steering with hips. Predictably I can't really do it. I can steer with legs, upper body, eyes in walk and to a degree in trot but it was decidedly ropey in canter. And I was neck reining anyway unintentionally. But I can't steer with hips! No idea how to even try and tell my horse which way to go via my hips.
 

Roxylola

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OK, the shoulders doing opposite to hips is wrong. Don't do that.
I kind of feel like you probably just do too much and end up just swinging too far the other way. Try and do the least you can I think, if it's not working slow down, make it smaller
 

Ambers Echo

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Great. Practicing wrong for YEARS! Reminds of going on a super expensive snowboarding course years ago with a Swiss instructor. He taught 'Plus' and 'Minus'. On the front side you were in 'plus' position, shoulders right angles to hips. On the backside you were in 'minus' position - shoulders aligned over hips. I can still hear him shouting 'plus' 'minus' 'plus' 'minus' as we turned.

The next year I was in France and the instructor said 'what on earth are you doing' I said 'I am in plus'. He said 'no that's wrong. Don't do that. Shoulders ALWAYS aligned over hips.'

I have never seen a snowboarder in 'plus'. No idea what he was on about. Ah well. More unlearning to do. :rolleyes:
 

DressageCob

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I can't imagine the shoulders going the opposite way to the hips either.

To turn, be it on a circle or into shoulder in for example, I'm always told to turn my seat bones. If I do that correctly then the hips and shoulders naturally all follow in line. If I fail to turn with my seat bones, I just end up twisting my upper body which achieves naff all ๐Ÿ˜„
 

CanteringCarrot

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Hm. I don't doubt that some of it is you (no offense) but I am also not sure all horses are so sensitive/able to be steered by hips alone. IMO, they should be, but it depends on who has trained and ridden them. Mine is incredibly sensitive and responds to my hips. A friend rode him and noticed the same and that she has to be attentive toward what her body is doing.

That being said, if I sit on a few other horses at the yard, they don't respond as readily to the same hip movements/pressures. They sort of have to be retrained to this. So this could play a role.

In theory, if you're hips are doing as they should, horse should naturally follow though.

I don't think that shoulders doing opposite of hips is necessarily wrong, it depends on what you're doing, but for the most part, it is wrong. However, in this case it sounds as though they need to be aligned so you're not twisting or contorting into such a way that doesn't work.

When you don't have a natural feeling for this stuff, it can be so hard to learn. I wonder if you had some lunge line lessons sans stirrups and reins (maybe even with your eyes closed ๐Ÿ˜œ) you could learn to focus on following the horse and syncing up your bodies. You don't need to worry where you are going or how fast, you just need to feel. But if you can't feel and focus, then it's a moot point.

You also have to make sure you're not trying to force things too much. If you're trying to force things into a shape or way, then you have potential to ride too strong and stiff. I can't see the issue exactly so can only imagine. I am also one who rides off of feel decently but can't explain so well. So I'm interested in following along.

The "I have no legs thing" works for me. Or I have spaghetti noodles hanging from my hip sockets. But not everyone gets that feeling through that illustration.

But if you're just going around by yourself and disregard every word that every instructor has ever said to you, what do you feel? How do you feel you should ride to be the most connected with your horse? What actually works. Maybe let the horse move you, not you move the horse. Gahh I am terrible at this ๐Ÿ˜…
 

milliepops

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the shoulders and hips thing stems from the idea that the hips should follow the horse's hips and your shoulders follow the horse's shoulders, if you picture a horse midway through a corner you can sort of understand how they can be going opposite ways. it's sometimes called the spiral seat.
I'm not sure how useful it is to think about tbh :p
for general riding about I think the rider generally staying aligned, straight and balanced is more useful. and making too much of a turning effort can mean you end up contorting yourself weirdly - turning the shoulders in an exaggerated way can lead to taking/giving the contact unevenly and collapsing at the waist, unweighting the seatbone you've turned away from etc for instance.
 

daffy44

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This is sounding so over complicated! Please dont think I am being rude, but you are not aiming for Badminton,so try simplifying things. I agree shoulders over hips, but as MP said just try to be generally aligned and balanced, there is no need to do too much, no wonder you said earlier in the thread that you felt it was taking you away from the connection with the horse and the enjoyment of what you do, it sounds like you are tying yourself in knots. If you can sit up reasonably straight, look where you are going, and if you feel the need to be technical slightly weight your seatbones in the direction of travel, that'll do. It can get more complicated later if you feel the need, but start without over thinking too much.
 

Ambers Echo

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Honestly I am not trying to over complicate. It's my instructor who tells me to do things and I can't follow or even really understand what I am trying to do or why. She does not do this with others (she has done wonders with Katie taking her dressage from high 30s to 28 in 1 season) and I have never heard her say anything complicated to her) so I think she must be desperately trying to find different ways to correct awful, awful flaws!

I'd post a video but I just don't dare. :(
 

Roxylola

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I've seen you ride. It's not awful.
I do think you really like to understand things and I think its very easy to get bogged down in small details when you like to understand the "science" of it all.
Its also hard if you're more of a feel rider than a think rider to explain simply how something feels.
When I used to teach total first lesson beginners I always used to show them getting on and off because there are so many bits to it that I just do and forget to break down - I learned this early in my career when someone got stuck ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ
 

milliepops

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This is sounding so over complicated! Please dont think I am being rude, but you are not aiming for Badminton,so try simplifying things. I agree shoulders over hips, but as MP said just try to be generally aligned and balanced, there is no need to do too much, no wonder you said earlier in the thread that you felt it was taking you away from the connection with the horse and the enjoyment of what you do, it sounds like you are tying yourself in knots. If you can sit up reasonably straight, look where you are going, and if you feel the need to be technical slightly weight your seatbones in the direction of travel, that'll do. It can get more complicated later if you feel the need, but start without over thinking too much.
yeah and you can go a fair way and realise you need it to be simpler than ever! My horse is naturally less supple to the left than right but i have made the left half pass harder by forgetting to sit straight, first and foremost, I tend to come off my right seatbone and crab to the left. i read something a while back about keeping your body aligned to the long sides of the arena and I've tried to remember that to stop me climbing off the inside of the saddle and giving my outside rein away!! if I ever get in control of that tendency maybe I can think about turning something other than my head, hahaha
 

daffy44

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Honestly I am not trying to over complicate. It's my instructor who tells me to do things and I can't follow or even really understand what I am trying to do or why. She does not do this with others (she has done wonders with Katie taking her dressage from high 30s to 28 in 1 season) and I have never heard her say anything complicated to her) so I think she must be desperately trying to find different ways to correct awful, awful flaws!

I'd post a video but I just don't dare. :(
Then talk to your instructor, tell her you dont understand what and why she is asking you to do, she should be able to tell you exactly what and why she is asking, thats her job, but if you dont tell her you are feeling lost, she cant help you. Dont assume she is trying to correct awful flaws! I'm sure thats not true, but be honest with her so you allow her to help you.
 

Roxylola

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Honestly I am not trying to over complicate. It's my instructor who tells me to do things and I can't follow or even really understand what I am trying to do or why. She does not do this with others (she has done wonders with Katie taking her dressage from high 30s to 28 in 1 season) and I have never heard her say anything complicated to her) so I think she must be desperately trying to find different ways to correct awful, awful flaws!

I'd post a video but I just don't dare. :(
Then talk to your instructor, tell her you dont understand what and why she is asking you to do, she should be able to tell you exactly what and why she is asking, thats her job, but if you dont tell her you are feeling lost, she cant help you. Dont assume she is trying to correct awful flaws! I'm sure thats not true, but be honest with her so you allow her to help you.
Possible light bulb moment, or possible ramblings of a crazy person.
I wonder if asking for clarity is where this has started to go wrong. I know as a trainer it is our job to explain in a way the client can understand but, maybe AE has a natural level of competence which she doesn't fully appreciate and rather than the total incompetence she presumes she has.
So when the instructor says be more x, AE says how/explain, instructor assumes AE has a grasp of a to w and wants more on x, instructor understands AE's huge desire to learn and understand so gets in to a very technical explanation about x not realising that a to w has happened unconsciously. This produces further confusion on both parts and then obsession with technical details of x ensues.
It goes back to the "just need to ride better" thing, I often say that I just need to be better/quicker etc, I laugh about it because it's a bit same old story there's nothing really wrong or bad - those things are easy to fix - it just all needs to be better but that's the hardest thing of all
 

daffy44

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Possible light bulb moment, or possible ramblings of a crazy person.
I wonder if asking for clarity is where this has started to go wrong. I know as a trainer it is our job to explain in a way the client can understand but, maybe AE has a natural level of competence which she doesn't fully appreciate and rather than the total incompetence she presumes she has.
So when the instructor says be more x, AE says how/explain, instructor assumes AE has a grasp of a to w and wants more on x, instructor understands AE's huge desire to learn and understand so gets in to a very technical explanation about x not realising that a to w has happened unconsciously. This produces further confusion on both parts and then obsession with technical details of x ensues.
It goes back to the "just need to ride better" thing, I often say that I just need to be better/quicker etc, I laugh about it because it's a bit same old story there's nothing really wrong or bad - those things are easy to fix - it just all needs to be better but that's the hardest thing of all
I think you have possibly nailed it!!
 

milliepops

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Sometimes you can get totally bogged down in too many details. Paralysis by analysis kinda thing. In which case the *just do it better* phrase is very helpful ๐Ÿ˜

I recognise the "just need to ride better" thing, I've had that in my lessons ๐Ÿ˜‚ you do need to know what that entails though,like I just need to ride that left half pass better which is partly about how I sit, partly about how I prepare it and partly how I train the horse to respond. If you told someone who didn't know that to just ride better they might not know where to start ๐Ÿ˜‚
 

Skib

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I too have been taught those two different ways and by the same RI. Some years apart.
One theory (Podhajsky and Charles Harris)) keeps both shoulders and hips aligned to the centre of the arc or circle, like being lined up on the long hand of a clock.

The other is your shoulders aligned with the horse's shoulders and your hips with the horse's hips which involves a twist.

When one is aligned with the hand of the clock, i.e. with either horse shoulders nor hips, you are actually aligned with the barrel of the horse. Charles Harris said that when a teacher was lunging a horse and rider, the teacher lunging should not be able to see the outside shoulder of the rider.

As an elderly crooked rider, when cantering in the open I find it very helpful to follow his advice, to picture the centre of the circle and keep my shoulders straight on it. Especially on the left rein.
No it doesnt interfere with communication with the horse. I ask for canter and the horse canters. After that, all I need to do is not impede her. There is a lot to be said for simplicity.

Almost any RI will change their ideas from time to time. But the methods are to add to one's repertoire of choices. Not oblige one to do anything. We are grown ups after all.
 

Ambers Echo

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Possible light bulb moment, or possible ramblings of a crazy person.
I wonder if asking for clarity is where this has started to go wrong. I know as a trainer it is our job to explain in a way the client can understand but, maybe AE has a natural level of competence which she doesn't fully appreciate and rather than the total incompetence she presumes she has.
So when the instructor says be more x, AE says how/explain, instructor assumes AE has a grasp of a to w and wants more on x, instructor understands AE's huge desire to learn and understand so gets in to a very technical explanation about x not realising that a to w has happened unconsciously. This produces further confusion on both parts and then obsession with technical details of x ensues.
It goes back to the "just need to ride better" thing, I often say that I just need to be better/quicker etc, I laugh about it because it's a bit same old story there's nothing really wrong or bad - those things are easy to fix - it just all needs to be better but that's the hardest thing of all
This makes sense. I do sometimes feel as though I need the ABCs and I am being taught the XYZs!

I had a lesson with a new person today who has started clinics at our yard. (We are very lucky to have so many people come and use the facilities for training). She had no notion of how well or badly I should ride and it went a lot better. Left canter was a mess and she stopped me and asked 'how did that feel'. So I said it felt like a mess. She asked in what way and I said:

- feels like my leg is ineffective at keeping her out on the circle
- feel like my heel and lower leg is drawing up and back
- Feels like she is both rushing and about to break to trot all the time

Then she said all those were linked. She was rushing and also liable to break to trot and I was sort of chasing her rather than giving her a couple of firm kicks to say 'oi maintain canter' then sitting quietly. Because she was rushing and falling in, and because I was nagging, my leg position was a lot less secure than if I gave a a sharp kick with both legs then focused on keeping my legs still and down and just using the inside leg effectively to keep her out. It went so much better. And it was so simple.

I do need instructors who slow it all down and let me feel my way through the problems and feel the differences myself after some simple tweaks. So feeling slightly less rubbish than I was this morning!
 

teapot

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Here's a thought - have you got anyone near you physio wise who has a symmetry seat or one of the better simulators? Might be worth taking the horse out the equation - I had no idea how stiff I was on the right, until I sat on a symmetry seat, was eye opening to how my body doesn't work...
 

Ambers Echo

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I had a lesson on an equisimulator a few years back and literally all the instructor said was 'that's fine, well done!'
Maybe she thought I was a total beginner and was pleased I stayed on it?

Never heard of a symmetry seat though. Sounds interesting.
 

scats

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Sometimes if I overthink something, the wheels fall off. I have to remind myself sometimes that Iโ€™m far better if I ride by feel.
That instructor today sounds good so thatโ€™s a positive.
 
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