I have been incredibly busy rebuilding fence lines and getting everything ready for the winter before the temperature drops and working outside becomes misery.
However, I’ve just been rooting through an old folder of mine full of reference websites, and I rediscovered this gem. I don’t think she’s updated it in a few years, but what’s left up is still fantastic.
All very good points.
Took Chevy out yesterday night for the first time in a few days. We went after dark, which really confused him at first. I figure with daylight hours getting so short he’d best get used to it, because it’s likely I wont get many chances to ride during the days once winter hits.
We started with some light lunging and action-reaction mouth work on the ground, and then continued it under saddle. He’s been picking up on this concept super quickly. It paid off, too - he was going forward into a light but steady contact and able to maintain a long and low head position for much longer and with more consistency than during last weeks rides. Taking the time to show them exactly what each aid means is so invaluable.
We were joined during this training session by my sister and her 7 yr old Trekhanner/QH mare, Boost. They’re coming off of a long layoff, so the work they were doing wasn’t much different from what Chev and I were working on. They were doing more shoulder in work than we were, but with that mare - since she’s so forward and sensitive, the timing of the aids has to be absolutely perfect or else you run into resistance. Not a complicated mare, but one that demands attention - a good horse for an intermediate level rider to learn on.
I’m struck again by how sweet and intelligent Chevy is. I bred him for this and worked with him since day one, but still. It’s so nice to have a smart horse that trusts you and follows your lead without a whole lot of resistance. Makes the training almost effortless.
Had enough time to get in a quick ride on Chi after work today. It was so gorgeous outside that I tacked him up and took him out to his 6 acre pasture to do some basic long and low work on the gentle hills.
He was super distracted by the horses in the next paddock throughout most of the ride. Had a few minor moments of resistance, but I was very patient and firm and he settled down.
He’s been out of work for a few weeks, so I didn’t ask for much. Our downwards transitions need a little polishing, so we worked on that, varied the work between large circles and voltes, transitions throughout. Shoulder in up and down hills was easy peasy today, and renvers on a 20m was almost effortless.
He was losing patience with the work and his muscles were starting to tire, so I got a few decent trot halfpass zigzags where he didn’t try to fall over his left shoulder, and halted and dismounted, untacked him right there, gave him a carrot, and carried my tack back to the tack room myself.
He followed me all the way to the gate, sour puss. Hopefully next time he isn’t as resistant to the idea of working outside, it’s perfect weather out there.
With luck, I’ll have time to take Chevy out tomorrow morning before work.
Earlier this year. Chi’s canter still needs a lot of work, but it’s coming along.
Travers to Renvers on a figure 8. Chi tends to give too much and/or evade by doing 4 track… we’re working on it.
This is Chi from a few months ago. Lost him a little bit on the end there, he still has problems going to his blind side on occasion. Decided to bail out and reinback rather than push him through. Kept him light and trusting, and the next one was better.
Shoulder in to counter shoulder in on a figure 8. As a general rule I start my warm up using these exercises, because it targets almost everything.
Sure! The way that I’ve been taught to steer my horse is to use my seat bones/hips. My body should remain entirely aligned. So, for a left turn, as my right shoulder advances around the turn, my right hip should do the same so that it is slightly in front of my left hip. Inside thigh/leg influences the bend of the horse (keeping the inside hind stepping up). It’s helped me a lot with things such as leg yields - I can effectively set up the bend with my seat by keeping my hips twisted left (for a leg yield right, for example) and use my inside upper thigh/seat to push the horse over, lower calf used if I need the horse to go more forward.
What’s happening with me is in a left turn, my left hip is slightly forward, advancing to the right. That’s making my horse try and counterbend.
Not sure if I effectively communicated this, but let me know if you have more questions about what I mean. I have never heard of Eckhart Meyners, but I did try and look some stuff up - couldn’t find anything about the rider’s hips in particular, but I would really like to hear about the reasoning behind it.
EDIT: I’ve also been taught “Rider’s shoulder influences the horse’s shoulder, riders hips influence the horse’s hips” - so if my shoulders are going left my horse will carry his shoulders left. If my hips are going right, my horse will carry his hips right.
Thanks for getting back to me on this. It’s hard to find indepth details on the Meyners approach online, I know. My clinician does the seat symposiums and work with the balimo chair, and I have some firsthand experience with most of the techniques, so I’ll give the explanation a shot.
A lot of this has to do with horse and rider and the way they balance together. The way that the pelvis and seatbones interact with the saddle and the horses natural inclinations to mirror or flow through the barriers that the rider sets up for it.
I think a lot of the difference in the way we were taught is that word, “Influence”. That’s a weird word, kind of too vague for me. If you change that word to mirror, you’ll get a better idea of how I’ve been instructed to interpret that saying. Rider’s shoulders mirrors the horse’s shoulders, riders hips mirror the horse’s hips.
So on a left bend, the horses shoulders will turn left but his hips will stay slightly towards the right, left (inside hind) advancing more than the right hind. The consequences of allowing the riders outside hip to drop back slightly are that first of all, it’s far more natural for the rider to allow the leg to then drape down and back so that they can contain the quarters to the bend, and secondly, the rider will be sitting softly but with slightly more weight to the inside, with the inside leg as a pillar to bend the horse around. Because the horse is turning left, you want him to feel that you are going with him in the balance, so you sit with him like this with a clear weight aid to the left, you block him as needed from going right with the outside rein and outside hip/thigh/lower leg, and you support him as needed with the inside aids.
I’ve seen both horses that were sluggish and flat improve bascule and horses that rushed forward and needed strong half halts settle dramatically in a matter of a few minutes just by instructing this simple change. You can really see the difference in canter work, but it shows in rising trot and walk too. It seems like the horses are relieved by the solidification of the rider’s balance and the ability for the rider to both soften and yet secure their seat so they can flow through the turn with the horse. brings to mind the old adage about getting out of the horses way. :)
To each their own of course, but you might find it interesting to play with this a bit. I’ve played with a lot of different ways of influencing the horse with my seat over the years, and I find that this one works the best for me.