Tag Archives: classical dressage

Lesson – Relax those hips!

Scorchio lesson on Saturday morning. Spent today working on keeping my upper legs and hips loose and ‘off’. I need to allow Saf room to lift her back and she can’t do this if I’m squeezing her! I think I got a good feel for this so will try be aware of what’s going on there. We did a bit of work in canter as well, which felt lovely, I’m really learning to love Saf’s canter, which I never thought I’d do. Concentrating on keeping my hips and thighs relaxed is particularly important at this point, especially given that I tend to squeeze her if I feel she’s slowing down as mentioned in yesterday’s post.

I need to just ask Saf to do something, and then let her do the work. I’m too much of a ‘doer’ and end up doing more work than her and stifling her.

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How are we doing?

More in-hand at the weekend, I am learning about Saf’s centre of gravity and how to shift her weight back more onto her hindquarters. You can see me doing this at halt. The ultimate aim today is relaxation, which Saf is really getting the hang of. Head goes down to stretch the top line, which makes the horse relax anyway, then bending left and right at halt, then on the circle. Saf can get quite pushy with her hindquarters, so she’ll power along on her forehand getting more out of balance and ‘falling’ forwards. Today she was less pushy, so we could try to get a little weight back. This is very strange for her, something she’s never really had to do. The ultimate aim is to get the horse’s weight off the forehand (which is natural for the horse when grazing), and to move it further back so the hindquarters take more weight (which is far better for the horse when ridden).

Saf is now getting used to bending both sides in a nice full body bend – was really pleased with her when I saw the video. Her inside hindleg is starting to move under her centre of gravity, not 100% there yet but going the right way. The next thing will be to encourage her to shift her weight from her inside foreleg, to her outside hindleg.

My unforgettable lesson with Sylvia Loch

Well, I don’t know where to start! We’ve both been fans of Sylvia Loch for a good few years now, have her books, DVD’s etc. At the time she was based on the Scottish Borders, so we couldn’t believe our luck when she moved to Suffolk!

Mum, Dad and Claire very kindly bought me a lesson on Sylvia’s Lusitano schoolmaster, Prazer, for my 30th which I can’t thank them all enough for! I’ve been fretting for the past week that I wouldn’t be good enough to ride such a fantastic horse but Sylvia was so welcoming and Prazer, a complete gentleman.

We started in walk while I got my bearings on some 20m(ish) circles. I can’t really describe the feeling of riding such a refined horse, the slightest incorrect aid, or my using too much leg, or not enough, and the circle would be an egg. Prazer, being the gentleman, took my amatuerishness (is that a word?!) with good grace, poor boy, and just responded with what he though I was asking him to do. We did a some turn-on-the-haunches, where I would put a little more weight in my inside stirrup and he turned as if by magic (that’s what he felt like!)

Up to trot, which Sylvia commented, was better than my walk, and we made some circles bigger and smaller with weight aids. I was even allowed a canter, in which the power was something I’ve never felt before. The moments before the canter depart felt like a spring coiling up and then off we went – heavenly! I could do that all day! I floated back down from cloud nine and we did a little work on shoulder-in in walk, then then in trot, and I’m happy to report that I think what I’d done with shoulder-in with Saf was on the right lines and it felt kind of similar.

Lastly we did some trot serpentines, which are incredibly difficult and we wobbled along a bit due to rider error but a good learning experience 🙂 And to finish we managed a few steps of passage, which was magical (I’m still grinning!)

I’m still in a dream-like state and keep saying to everyone that I can’t believe what just happened haha! Sylvia is an amazing teacher and explains everything so well. I will definitely be back for more! Oh and Claire now wants a Lusitano for her next horse!

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