Moving the Upper Body Around and Over a Correctly Placed Leg
These familiar looking on-horse exercises are used to teach you how to stabilise your seat and use your legs as an anchor (without bracing or gripping) whilst moving the the torso freely.
The legs must remain in place as you:
Slide both hands up the crest towards the ears. --->
Reach behind to touch the top of the horse’s tail. <---
Bend down to touch toes with each hand on both sides of the horse. ^
The 'Slide the hands' exercise is best done in two-point as it tests balance. But can be introduced in normal seat.
In the ‘Reach behind to touch the horse's tail’ make sure that you follow the arm around with their head and neck (i.e. look along the arm as they turn) to avoid blocking individual vertebra.
During the toe-touching exercise, you must bring your nose to the knee. If you lean out "beside" the horse or step into the stirrup on that side, you will pull the horse out of balance and possibly fall off! You should shift your weight to the opposite seat bone before leaning over (i.e., to the right seat bone prior to leaning left). You may not succeed first time, but with practice your flexibility and stability will improve.
Common positional errors to watch out for:
With thanks to Jan Dawson for her permission to use these Secure Seat illustrations.
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Classical Dressage Notebook