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I've got a habit of dropping my left hand lower than the right. And I'm trying to keep my shoulders/upper back open, because I can be riding along, thinking about my shoulders, then OOPS! My left hand is lower than the other. Then OOPS! My calves/heels should be stretched a bit lower and then finally OOPS! There tips my upper body again. Most of all I try to remember the hand habit, since it seems to be the worst and/or most problem-creating...secondly I focus on shoulders and everything that follows.
There you go! Those ‘body checks’ are what you need to keep doing every so often so that you can rewire your brain patterns. At the moment they require ‘conscious thought’, but as you ingrain the habits (that's what you're doing after all; replacing bad habits with good ones) they will become ‘unconscious thoughts’ i.e. instinctive reactions that you don't need to ‘think’ about.
(Click here for more on Conscious and Unconscious Competence.)
One point to watch out for in all the above paragraph. If you're dropping your left hand—it sounds, to me, as if you're not using the left side of your seat correctly. I would say you may also be (to a larger or lesser degree) collapsing over your left hip which means you will bulge your ribs (again it may only be very slightly) to the right and sending more weight into your right seat bone. You horse’s reaction to this? She will fall out to the right around left hand bends and in on right ones , despite what you think you're telling her to do.
When that hand drops, check you seat. Is your left seat bone in contact and ‘up’ into the front of the saddle around bends/turns. Make sure you are sitting evenly over her backbone. each of your buttocks evenly spread over each side of her spine. make sure both seat bones maintain an even contact esp. through turns. Watch for the outside one floating away. Think of narrowing your body inwards to the centreline of the saddle ‘hold’ your horse on the line you want her to take with your body language. You can't ‘make’ a horse go anywhere / do anything; you have to ‘show’ them where to go and then ‘allow’ then to go there. Does that make sense? You sound like the type of rider who could grasp that concept quite easily, but if you need more help let me know ;-)
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