Yet again, it has been so long since I have written, and I am now snatching a few moments before I leave home and head to the US to teach for much of May. I just don't seem to be the right generation for it to come naturally for me to stick my head up above the parapet of cyberspace - it always falls off the end of my 'to do' list. But the good news is that I have a good excuse, and am well through the process of editing a new set of DVDs featuring myself and US Grand Prix dressage rider Heather Blitz. These were filmed at a symposium we did in the US several years ago - so again you could say that they are really overdue. But such is life. Barring accidents they will materialise in the
Meanwhile new insights about riding and teaching pop into my head at regular intervals. Only a few days ago it became so clear to me that my horse Quite (who is pictured on the cover of the 'Clinic' book) has a crease in his right long back muscle. I have always kinda-sorta known it was there and it causes all sorts of hayhem. When I first got him he had a huge amount of 'baggage' and would often throw his quarters to the right and kick out with his right hind leg. He has also always had a bit of a 'glitch' in his canter which has been extremely difficult to work with. But both of those have their origins in this crease, which has made me feel less stable and effective in canter right, moving my shoulders too much and feeling disorganised in my middle. The knock-on effects have become much less over time, but I had known that I had not really reached the nub of the issue.
The bottom line is that I have had a matching crease in the right side of my diaphragm which he has been able to exploit. In this case I don't think that one of us has caused the other to have the problem - I think we just happened to have had a compatible set of issues. It is through undoing my crease that I can really identify and fix the crease in him, changing the feeling of my underneath on his back' and making his long back muscle really connect into his croup. This makes it a much longer, stronger bridge that is not wiggly or disorganised. This makes so much difference to his ridability! It's one of those virtuous spirals where once you sit better the horse gets to go better which makes it easier for you to sit better and easier for him to go better, etc.
As soon as this happened I had a memory of a lesson in which Heather realised that one of her horses also had a crease in his long back muscle. That was either in 2007 or 2008, and even though our interaction had catalysed her breakthrough moment I found myself thinking 'How interesting, I have never felt it quite like that'. So I have now had an identikit revelation!
Everything in riding has its time and its order, and we get it when we get it....such is life!