All horses are bent a little to the left or a little to the right. They spend 23 hours a day in positions that is likely crooked but comfortable and familiar to them. When we ride them it is our job to straighten their bodies and encourage them to be using their core.
My horse Toby is shaped like a banana to the right. He does not like bending to the left. So when we do dressage I have to ride with extra awareness about my left side. He also has a slight weakness on his left hind. I over compensate by raising my left shoulder and giving with my left elbow. However, it is very important that I straighten my own body so he can be straighter. I really have to work hard to anchor my left elbow because slowly but surely he starts to pull to the right and after a few circles on the right lead the reins are loopy. You can see in this picture how good he looks collected and how strongly anchored my left elbow is. I'm so thankful I have an amazing coach to guide us through these technical details.
For our group jumping lesson we learned the technical side of adjusting our body position for going up hill and down dale. It's about leaning forward and holding onto mane when going up hill. Lean back and kick your feet forward for going down dale. Ultimately you want to maintain your body position as balanced and upright regardless of what the horses body is doing beneath you.
It has been beautiful weather here in the Kootenays. Fall is my favorite time of year as the intense summer heat fades and the leaves on the trees change dramatically to flaring reds, bright yellows and magnificent oranges. So it is especially fun to be doing cross country jumping.
We had a little paint party last week. The three of us played with our paints in the field doing cross country jumps and practiced going up and down hills. I worked on my "release". My piant, Teddy, has a big strong head and dives down on the landing of the jump. I don't want to get pulled down with him so I started throwing my reins away to allow for slack. However, this is a bad idea because I lose control of steering and breaks. My coach advises to hold on to the reins even if it pulls on his mouth as he will soon learn to bring his head up. So we tried it and his head stayed more level. Learning while having fun with horses is truly the best!
I have been a Professional Animal Communicator since January 2016. I have been an animal lover and admirer for a very, very long time.