Thursday, April 30, 2015

just a few things (and a gif)

Isabel continues to impress me. She's doing so well lately!! My only fault is that she's pretty hot to trot and has been trying to speed around the arena - especially after a canter. I want to get her slowing down using just my seat and posting speed (as per our bio-mechanics lesson)... but it's not always working haha. 

So we just sorta fly around on a circle for a few laps until my last dressage trainer's voice plays in my head saying 'get a reaction' and I actually, ya know, half halt with meaning and the mare slows down. I really like her slower trot right now tho bc she feels WAY more balanced. 

isabel is not impressed by my attempts at a selfie
We'll see tho. Our first lesson (other than the bio-mechanics lesson) in over a month is scheduled for Sunday with new dressage trainer C and I am SO EXCITED. 

I'll be eager to hear her thoughts on any improvements 'posting the canter' has made in my seat. I really like what this practice has been doing for my balance, and it's made it way easier to manage Isabel's rhythm - but I really DON'T love what it's doing to my upper body position. 



Kirsten said my upper body would need to come forward to achieve that big swing and openness through my hips - and she's actually trying to lengthen my spine entirely (visualize bringing sternum and belly button closer together, if that makes sense). 

I'm pretty sure once all those mechanics are working, we can tip the upper body back again to get a more 'upright' position while still maintaining the long back and following seat... And it's hard to argue with how well Isabel is going while I'm fussing around with all these positional adjustments in myself... 

see? posting doesn't really look like much at all - tho it feels very exaggerated
(also - how cute is Isabel???)
But all the same, I kinda cringed while watching the video... just gotta keep reminding myself that Rome wasn't built in a day, and that a nice tall upright torso won't mean jack shit to Isabel if my seat grinds into her back with every step. 

So I'm gonna keep playing around with the exercise. I set up a couple jumps for my last ride - a regular old cavaletti, a small coop (~2'), and a 2'3" vertical - and would 'post' the canter in my approach to all the fences until about 3-4 strides out, and it actually really helped me find all the jumps in stride. 

Some spots were a little longer or deeper than I'd ideally like - but nothing really ugly. Plus, resuming 'posting' again after the fence made it way easier to re-balance Isabel in the corners and get my simple change when needed. 

enormous osprey just hangin out at our farm with its lunch - see the fish tail next to it?

My general takeaway is that this 'posting the canter' exercise is improving literally every aspect of our rides - with the exception that I dislike how I look while doing it lol. It's getting easier with repetition, I am more balanced, and legs are staying in a better position. 

the 'baltimore bird' is a much more common sight tho

Having an independent and following seat is more important to me at this point than having pretty equitation... but ultimately I want it all. So we'll see how it goes, I guess. 

23 comments:

  1. The canter posting is interesting, especially because I've done it before (unknowingly) and was told very sternly to stop by my Trainer. Once I stopped and concentrated on just opening my hips, sitting deep on my seat bones, and relaxing, my seat position improved so dramatically. I guess different things work for different people! Glad it is working for you :)

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    1. it's definitely not a 'traditional' approach haha - but this trainer does things her own way. it's funny bc my other trainers will notice an improvement in me or my horse, but become dismissive when i tell them the concepts from the bio-mechanics trainer (even tho they just complimented the improvement!)...

      really tho - just concentrating on my hips and seat wasn't making a difference - and i really have no feel for it. so i'm hoping this will be different?

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  2. Ah, I see how it works now!! Thanks for the gif - that was excellent and Isabel's canter looks nice! (also that Osprey is way too cool). I kind of have mixed feelings about this method, but definitely want to give it a try....though I forgot to when I rode yesterday lol. Different strokes for different folks lol.

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    1. haha glad you like the gif! i kinda hate my position in it but i love the mare so... sacrifices lol. good luck giving it a try - let me know if you think it helps at all!

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    2. I really don't think you look that bad in it, but I know where you're coming from because a lot of times when I see pics or vid of myself riding I hate my position too lol. We're our own worst critics. My dressage calls me out sometime for trying to ride to correctly and not being effective enough. She says to be effective and communicate to the horse first and then make it look prettier later

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    3. haha yea you're totally right - and i think that's where this whole problem that i'm trying to unlearn came from : trying to 'ride correctly' vs actually being effective. but at the end of the day i'd rather be able to actually ride the damn horse, regardless of anything else lol

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  3. I was watching at a hunter/jumper show last month and it seemed a lot of riders were posting the canter. I hadn't seen this much before and wondered if it were the new trendy thing to do!
    Isabel's canter looks so lovely! Building new positional habits is so hard. :)

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    1. i'd never seen it before either, but saw from googling it that it IS kinda a trendy thing in h/j land. the bio-mech trainer said she learned it from polo players tho, which i also thought was interesting.

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  4. I don't think you look bad at all. She has a nice forward, rocking canter. Posting the canter is something one of my old trainers had me do a lot!

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    1. thanks! i should clarify that i don't mind the forward seat for jumping, but what i really want is a nice position for the dressage court, which i don't really have yet. hopefully soon!

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  5. A lot of Hunter people post the canter at competitions, and I've done it a time or two. But personally, once you get that *moment* where you can sit the canter quietly and effectively, I find that you feel more solid than in a half seat. The posting will help tho - esp for the Dressage part :)

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    1. that's exactly what i'm hoping! i love me some half seat - but i think it has more to do with being too rigid in a full seat to feel secure.

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  6. That gif is super helpful and I think you look a lot better than you think. I totally get it, we're our biggest critics - but don't be too hard on yourself. You're making huge strides. Go Arabian mares!

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    1. thanks! it's just a hard balancing act mentally - i want to 'look' a certain way in the saddle, but first i have to actually 'sit' a certain way, and the two things don't always happen at the same time... we'll get there eventually tho!

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  7. Yes thanks for the gif! I've never seen or heard of this before - fascinating!

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    1. it's definitely a little .... different from my usual way of going haha. but i think i needed something kind of revolutionary to help undo some old muscle memory and learn a new position

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  8. Posting the canter sounds interesting. I've never done it before. What are the purposes of it? Also, I think its really cool you get to take biomechanics lessons.

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    1. it's definitely really interesting haha. i wrote a super long post about it yesterday detailing exactly how my trainer wanted me doing it - but essentially the point is to help me achieve a better seat so that i can sit the canter more effectively

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  9. I love using posting at the canter as a way to get a good medium canter going!

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    1. it's definitely helping SO MUCH with isabel's rhythm - a side effect i didn't anticipate at all, but it makes sense

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  10. I thought it funny how many people had never heard of this before. Loved the biomechanics recap from your previous post!

    All of the pros in PR posted the canter at some point or another. These people competed in the jumpers at the international level and I was lucky to share the riding arena with them. My trainer at the time explained that it's a great way to balance a horse at the canter and that's how I learned to use it. There was one particularly sensitive OTTB I was working with who lived to get flat and bolty at the canter (it became more of a barely-controlled hand gallop...) Posting at the canter helped to organize her and set the pace I wanted. By the time I was done with her as a project, she had developed the nicest rolling canter. It's fascinating to me that your biomechanics instructor uses it specifically to develop a lighter deep seat at the canter...because that's exactly the side effect it had in me.

    I think you and Isabel look GREAT in that gif btw! It's obviously working for both of you!

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    1. * loved, not "lived"! Stupid phone!

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    2. i feel like i've seen ppl do it but never been clear on exactly what it was haha. your points about balancing the horse (esp a sensitive horse!!) exactly match my experience so far. isabel naturally has a pretty nice canter, but it's easy for her to get all sprawled out - esp in corners when i'm trying to get our simple change haha.

      but yes - the focus here is definitely on *me* and so far so good :)

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