On Tour With Mary

Join Mary at a recent clinic in Portugal! Dana, who is featured in this mini-series, is at her first Ride With Your Mind clinic. She is a young groom and rider and works for a local equestrian business.
Dana is riding a borrowed Grand Prix dressage horse, Zolista. He was featured previously on Dressage Training TV with his usual rider and trainer in our ‘Collection and Impulsion’ course. He is now a venerable 20-year-old, and we think he looks magnificent for a horse of this age – though these lessons suggest that he could easily warm to the idea of a new career as a schoolmaster! 
These sessions cover a lot of ground, and we recommend them to all as they are both a great introduction to Ride With Your Mind and also contain important information for more experienced viewers.

Dana’s first lesson

Zolista comes to the lesson with very little ‘baggage’ and is well in his comfort zone. This simplifies Dana’s task, making it very easy for her to focus on herself. He has some arthritic changes; you may see him look a little stiff.
This session is a very clear example of how Ride With Your Mind principles can change a rider in one lesson. Dana was very ‘up for it’, and she is an unusually good learner with very little ‘baggage’. We hope this shows you what’s possible – and what’s possible for you, too, even if your horse does not have quite such a giant halo!

Dana’s SECOND lesson

In this second lesson, Mary and Dana cover an unusual amount of ground, which was possible thanks to Dana being such a good learner who can easily sense her body, and Zolista’s stability in his baseline way of going.
They review the ‘pieces’ from the first lesson, and focus more on breathing and bearing down in both walk and rising trot. 
Mary then enters the realm of asymmetry, and invites Dana to notice if her body makes a C curve more easily on one side. Dana realises that she leans and curves to the left, and Mary offers two strategies to begin to fix this. Dana finds out how to place her midline over Zolista’s – whilst accepting that this feels, to her, like leaning right. 
Mary also demonstrates how the way that Dana sits influences the shape of the horse’s back, and Dana starts to develop her awareness of this. 
They briefly visit sitting trot and canter, where Dana does a remarkably good job of ‘keeping her pieces’.

Dana’s THIRD lesson

This lesson starts, as always, with a review. Sadly our camera missed the beginning of this, but Dana had a clear memory of the ‘pieces’ from her last two lessons (which is not the case for everyone!). 
The discussion on ‘riding on interface’ is very significant, and Dana has already had some interface experiences with Zolista, though perhaps fewer than she would have had on a greener horse who might have been more inclined to speed up/slow down, hollow, and have steering issues. These would have amplified both the challenge to her and the pendulum swing between ‘got it’ and ‘lost it’. This might or might not have helped her! This lesson adds more ‘pieces’ in rising trot, sitting trot and canter.
Watch the section on finding seat bones carefully! Mary hopes you will notice how much it helps Dana to have less weight in her stirrups and more weight in her thighs – this can make miraculous changes to everything from basic paces to canter pirouettes!
We hope you enjoy following Dana, glean some new understanding,  and appreciate how well she processes new information. Like everyone, Dana found some changes easier than others. Mary thinks she is a wonderful role model of a good learner.