be more under him. Actually just think-ing “wider through his knee” as he postsup would be really helpul and wouldprobably change the look o his leg im-mediately. I am not sure in this case i his leg is just a tad ahead because hishorse is airly narrow or that his saddledoes not allow his body to hang in align-ment which is a very common issue inmany saddles, and riders have no wayo knowing the dierence.There is a lightness and sotness inthe appearance o the horse. The horseis telescoping (extending) his neck, re-leasing his topline and “coming through”his back. He is round rom behind thesaddle to the top o his tail. His base, thearea between his ront legs, is up, andall these actors allow him to shit weightdynamically with each stride. This horse would be telling me this rider allows himto nd ease going down the trail.
This horse and rider appear to begoing in what many might consider anice-looking outline or a more collectedrame. This is truly an illusion and onethat many seek to emulate. The rider issitting in a chair seat and I do believe inthis instance that the saddle he is ridingis not helping him nd his balance over his eet. The rider’s leg is in ront o thegirth. Even though his upper body looksto be stable and his elbows are bent andthere is a nice line o contact rom elbowto bit, he cannot come close to synchro-nizing with his horse, as he will always bebehind the horse’s movement.The horse is clearly refecting thisimbalance, as he cannot telescope hisneck. He is bent at C-2, the neck verte-bra just behind the poll, and the posi-tion o his head is restricting his abilityto intake air reely. The horse is wearinga martingale, quite typical o this alserame—horses such as this at times go“head high”, especially when excitedor during transitions. This is why manyriders use martingales.The issue is not that the horse tendsto carry his head high but that his back isnot able to work eciently, so the horseraises his head when the core issue isthat he is really out o balance. Since thehorse is wearing a martingale this pre-
p e g g y ’ s c r i t i q u e
t is critical, in order to improve theshock-absorbing ability o your jointsover the uneven ground on a trail, thatyour hips, knees, ankles and arches arein vertical alignment and have the abil-ity to absorb the movement. For this itis essential or your seat to be over your eet (except in the case o a jockey wherethe stirrups are so short that the anglesormed by the legs as they are gallopingallow or shock absorption).Experiment with the ollowing exer-cise: Put your right oot against your letas i you were positioning yoursel to pulla boot o with your heel. While keepingyour entire oot on the ground engageyour thigh muscles and fex your leg asi you were pulling the boot o. Sinceyou are keeping your entire oot on theground the movement is small, but you will notice how your thighs initiate themovement.Once you have gured out this simplemovement, put your heels together withyour toes pointing out, making a “V” shape with your eet. Place your hands on your thighs and press down and alternatelyfex your legs. When your body is in align-ment (it can be slightly orward) and thereis no tension in your back, the movementis incredibly simple and you will noticehow strong and eicient your thighsare. The position will eel as i you areslightly squatting with your knees wide.I your spine, pectoral muscles or shoulders have any tension this exercise will eel very dicult, and the movementin the legs will be orced and the thighs will be lacking power. The exercise isimpossible to do with an arched (hol-lowed) back, a rounded back (pelvis in a“pocket sitter” posture) or a chair-sittingposture.This exercise is intended to give youa sensation o being able to move your bones with ease. This is a rhythm and mo-tion that should be taking place while youare walking and trotting your horse that isequal and alternating. The walk rhythmis obviously slower that the trot rhythm.The canter rhythm diers, as it is a short-long rhythm. The long rhythm is in synch with the horse’s lead. The movement o the bones is not orced. The movemento your bones needs to be at rst allow-ing and in rhythm with the movement o the horse.The major thing to remember is tothink wide through your knees. Your calves will automatically be on the horse’ssides, providing a stabilizing anchor or your upper body. Your eet must be leveland the stirrup not too long, allowing theoot to adjust to the fexion required inthe joints. As you become aware o the ease thiscan create, you can accentuate the rhythmby adding more intention to your legs(a “wobbling” sensation that invites thehorse to pick up the driving energy inhis hind eet) or slow down the rhythm, which will slow the horse down withoutyou having to use your hands.Mastering this exercise eliminatesever having to use both o your legs atthe same time. Remember you are ridinga horse, not a kangaroo or rabbit! I willcontinue this discussion in another issue.It would be also helpul to review lastmonth’s exercise on “Moon Walk”.
photo by bobbie jo lieberman- www.bobbiejo.smugmug.com