Monday, 13 February 2012

It's Not You, It's DEFINITELY Me!

Had a another brilliant side saddle dressage lesson today with Lili Brooksby and we ironed out some of the kinks we'd been having in our Prelim 1 test. Most of it, was due to me not sitting central enough and my right shoulder creeping towards the left which was confusing Hattie. I knew I was doing something that was affecting her but couldn't put my finger on it. I was getting tense with the shoulder turning to the left and this was having a domino effect.

Lili also got me to think of my outside rein as a "side rein" like you would use when lunging to help me keep a nice steady contact and to help me give with my inside rein, to think of it as if you were holding a champagne glass. I can also play with my fingers on the inside rein a bit too to help soften when needed. Another helpful visualization to help with all of this, if to think that on the off-side of me, that there is a wall guiding me when the actual wall of the school goes away like when riding on a circle or going across the diagonal.

I think it sounds strange, but the "wall" visualization really helped with keeping my shoulder back and keeping Hattie going nice and forward where I wanted her to go. She was nice and forward and our canters were nice and rolly with her starting to work in a nice elastic outline. I'm going to have to keep "WALL" in my head all the time now, lol.

Lili pointed out in the mirror for me to look at Hattie as she was carrying herself beautifully. Hattie can do it naturally, I just need to sort myself out so she can get on with it as Lili said that by the end of the year, that she wants me to do a Novice level test. EEEEEKK!!!

Since I don't have any photos of my lesson today, here is another image from my collection to appease you all. It's a stereoview from c. 1862. This image has always fascinated me due to the white bridles and martingales. Look at the tall stove pipe hats the ladies are wearing too!


  1. Hi Leila! I am so impressed with your sidesaddle abilities - I always wanted to try that. I got the chance at the end of last year and it wasn't pretty. My first attempt was looming disaster with EVERY step. My second and last try was better, but still, I only walked. The saddle may have been a bad example. Seat was huge and flat and the horns didn't seem to be located properly. My right leg was to big for the right curl and the left was way to big. Oh well, maybe I will run into another to try someday. Good luck with your riding - you can see my attempts on my blog from late Dec. Hope you get a good ride this week. And that I do too.

  2. I have lessons that go easy as pie.. and then the very next week, I have issues... not sure if it is in my head.. or maybe my older body.. or?? but the key is to recognizing it..which you have! I love reading your blog...and that antique photo - TOO COOL!!