Lessons for Dressage Training on Ground work, Alignment, Halt, Turning, Free Walk, The Seat, Transitions, Hand/Leg aids and more.
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A book suitable for beginners, more advanced riders and coaches looking for better explanations.
Peter Dove is author of Master Dressage, which held #1 spot on Amazon in several categories for 4 months. Mary Wanless is best selling author of the series of Ride With Your Mind books and DVDs.
Let’s start with the basics in the walk. This is best done on the horse, so read these words and then try it out on your horse. I want you to notice what is happening to your seat bones in the walk – are they both moving backwards and forwards at the same time or do you find one seat bone goes forward and then the other? The seat bones should be moving separately due to the muscles along the horse’s back contracting one side then the other. Many people report that they are moving both seat bones forward and back at the same time, and this usually comes from shoving with the seat.
You can feel this yourself on your own body. Place your hands either side of your spine and then start walking. You will notice that one long back muscle will contract and then the other – this is the same way that the horse’s back works and this is why your seat bones will be carried forward one at a time. You will notice this effect more profoundly if you are walking down hill on your horse. If you still find it hard to separate the seat bones then notice what is happening to your knees… can you see or feel them moving separately. Once you get that you can try to get a sense of the seat bones doing the same.
Before thinking about the rest of this section about walk, where we discuss how to control the tempo, how much movement should be in the seat bones and how to know which hind leg is coming underneath you based on the seat bone movement, I suggest you try the above exercise on your horse so you can get the feeling of separate seat bones.