Photo: If you ever want to ride like Alizee Froment in this picture here, (check out what she does at the 3 minute mark in this video or like Stacey Westfall on Wizards Baby Doll in that amazing bridle-less reining championship or even if you just want the poetry of absolute togetherness from walk to trot to canter to stop – then you want this Lesson on auto pilot.
In the last two lessons, we watched Rapunzel learning to be soft to the rein and then learning to glide to a stop and then backwards from a body signal, with the rein as the thing to use IF the body signal was not understood.
This is the order of things that will get you a bridle-less stop if that is somewhere that you wish to go some day. (Bridle-less being nothing at all on your horse’s head – a lovely liberated feeling!) In preparation for bridle-less riding I personally like to blow my breath out which becomes a verbal cue for my horse that adds to the body position, though be careful that you joints keep moving while you are doing that.
Now we’re going to talk about dancing to a stop in two reins and accelerating the back up WHEN that timing is right – which may or may not be right now! 🙂
This Lesson belongs in this space because it is a natural progression describing the different stops and backups, but for many of you, you will come back to this lesson after some more of the ridden lessons.
What we are going to use to get this dancing to a stop in two reins, is the same rotation, that turning of ALL our eyes to look where we are going that we talked about in the lesson about effortless turning. Only THIS time the rotation is going to be so tiny that it would be invisible to anyone watching and because of your horse’s body movement, it has a different feel in backwards.
Throughout the whole course, you will find that the techniques I give you are not the only way to get what you are looking for. You add all your own experience and feedback from your own horse. What we are doing in this lesson is ONE way of dancing to a stop.
I suggest that you ride this exercise on your chair horse first, get the timing in your mind and the feeling in your body before you rush out and try it on your horse. And I am doing this lesson in audio because it is not about what someone else looks like but what you and your horse FEEL like.
As usual, there’s a written version of the audio below.
Ignore the lesson numbers in the audio, here’s a list of the lessons I’m talking about:
– About effortless turning.
– About softness in the rein for the back up.
– about the body position for back up.
– And very importantly, connecting heaven and earth in the saddle with that lovely spongy feeling that you feel in your hands when all your joints are in that soapy bones state and available for movement.
Written Version of the Audio
Now we’re going to talk about dancing to a stop in two reins and accelerating the back up WHEN that timing is right – which may or may not be right now!
Lessons 67 and 68 (those are old numbers – ignore them!) being on your horse in your and their Comfort Zone is a pre-requisite to this lesson; softness to the rein must be in your horse’s Comfort Zone; the auto response to your body position should be in your horse’s Comfort Zone – before you up the ante to dance the stop and/or accelerate the back up.
And if you try the dancing to a stop before you get those responses happening first, then I suspect you will get a big fat Not Quite Right!
Do this exercise on your chair horse first, get the timing in your mind and the feeling in your body before you rush out and try it on your real horse because this is a very big deal. It is the fundamental part of the dance.
So, listen inside yourself and if you need to, notice everything about your breathing, feel for your heartbeat or notice the movement of energy around your body – whichever thing pulls you into that place of Inner Awareness best.
Bring your horse into that Inner Awareness and feel the deep pull into connection with them.
Soften your eyes in preparation for understanding the perfection of any message that comes up while you are working together and smile a little.
Get on your imaginary horse in that space, with all those things still happening and find your magnetic butt.
With all that practice on the ground and all the changing of old body pattern that you been doing, all these things should be starting to happen without having to think about it so much now.
But if you are unsure about anything – either your connection or your magnetic butt, then decide not to struggle over it – because you don’t have to struggle over it. Your course is structured so that you can have inexpensive private sessions. We can even do 15 minutes at a time if you just want to check that you have it right, if you are unsure.
If you were riding your real horse, you would check that your stop and back up to the signal of the rein is soft and happy and that your back up to the body position without the rein is soft and happy. If you have a really good imagination, you could do that on your chair horse now.
And of course if you were riding your real horse you would have ridden them around and warmed them up before trying this exercise.
Pick up two reins smoothly just like we watched Michelle do with Rapunzel – ignore the lesson numbers!) and connect with your horse firmly. Don’t make the mistake of trying to be soft in your hands – that will make you wishy washy and make it harder for your horse to physically stay connected to you.
Remember we talked about the give and take in the reins does not come from your HANDS – it’s in the flexing of your JOINTS and that flexing of your joints will come from that stronger feeling of soapy bones as you feel the movement of your horse through the reins. If that feeling is not VERY clear to you now, then I suggest you go back and review it before you do this lesson on your horse.
And if you can’t find it, email me – that’s what we’re here for.
Here is the piece de resistance of the dancing stop. With your joints in that state of flexion that gives you that lovely softness in your hands, give your body signal for stop –
slide your tail bone closer to the ground and at the same time, float forwards with your upper body and imagine that your hip joints were opening like we talked about with Michelle and Rapunzel.
AND AT THE SAME TIME… rotate a tiny bit left and a tiny bit right together and in time with your horse’s legs. These rotations are so tiny that I wouldn’t even be able to see them unless I had a very good eye. Watch yourself that these rotations are just turns, keeping everything level as you do them.
I am going to say all that again because it is such a big deal. With your joints in that state of flexion that gives you that lovely softness in your hands,
slide your tail bone closer to the ground and at the same time, float forwards with your upper body and imagine that your hip joints were opening and at the same time do tiny rotations left and tiny rotations right, in time with your horse’s legs as you dance them to a stop.
When THAT is in both your Comfort Zones, then you can keep those tiny rotations happening in time with your horse’s legs as you go through the stop and into the back up.
And then when THAT is in both your Comfort Zones, then you can start to speed up the rotations to accelerate the speed of the back up.
And oh my goodness enjoy practicing that!
Woohooo! Doin’ a little dance!
In your next lesson, we look at the key to having your horse follow your lead, to follow your dance.