Our horses, in their unique design, respond to subtle signals preceding our deliberate cues. Another reason, besides great equitation scores in the show ring, to practice quiet seat and hands is to make it easier for the horse to detect these subtle pre-signals Intentional cues will go unnoticed in sea of random, meaningless rider movements—the turbulence of flapping, pumping or clenching that a horse will learn to ignore.
As a riding coach, I always hope to convey the beauty, even musical quality of the horse –human dynamic. But to do it in a clear, evidence- based, no- jargon way!
Speaking in equitation science terms of pounds of pressure, inches, metres or geometry can be more helpful to riders than “More”, “Look up”, “Rounder” or “Hands still” in answering the Questions:
“What should I do with my body?” and “What, exactly, should it look like?”
By describing skills from a biomechanical point of view, rather than a subjective description of what to do with their bodies, riders can improve their technique…
“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if [Thanksgiving], he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if [Thanksgiving], perhaps, means a little bit more.”
As I count my blessings topping my list are, funnily enough, what I haven’t received. Not only what I’ve been given, but what I’ve be spared from. Amazing graces… I’ve never been significantly injured by horses. It still amazes me. In those naïve and reckless young rider years, in training hundreds of horses as a professional, falling off, dragged, struck at and run into- but never hurt.