Wednesday 12 April 2017

RWYM - 1st Lesson Saturday Morning

(Videos have been uploaded to youtube - hopefully they can be viewed)

I hope you guys are ready for a media tsunami unlike anything I've shared on the blog before. I actually feel a little uneasy about dissecting all this info and still don't really know where to begin. Not to mention the fact that this is really laying it all out there, these videos really highlight the tip of the iceberg in my weaknesses as a rider, admittedly i am an absolute amateur and only hope others might benefit from seeing where I am going wrong and hopefully the tips being given to me might help others.

Apologies to those who don't like watching videos, if it's any consolation the longest clip is 2 minutes and most are under 30second snapshots of the lesson.
EB was awesome at explaining the ideas and concepts to the rider and then recording before, during and after instructions to give the rider something to look back on and check in with to help with the information overload. I will try to nab some screenshots to share, but honestly the videos are so short and packed with info & tidbits. That despite the relative shortness in run time, they are infinitely better at divulging information than anything I could ever hope to write.

I feel a disclaimer should precede the videos ... I had meant to make myself and Kika more presentable (aka pull her mane) but time got away from me as I played hostess. I did manage to braid it for the Sunday sessions, so at least in the later videos she looks slightly more presentable.
I also deliberately left the reins a little long for this first lesson as I knew I would be concentrating a lot on me and my seat in the saddle so didn't take much contact with her - perhaps unfair, but considering the bombardment of info my brain took on in this fist lesson, I honestly wouldn't have been able to concentrate on more.

Youtube Link in case above doesn't work
(16 seconds)

Screenshot of chair seat as mentioned in video above
I'm not quite sure what is the best way to share the mountain of info for this post, as not only is there the information being shared in the videos but there is also the theory I gleaned from watching these videos of this lesson as part of the group theory. I think I'll let those who want to watch the videos and then share the general notes I made during theory at the end of the post and hope it all makes some sort of sense to those reading. Even a week later I am still digesting all the information and as you can tell from this post, I am no closer to being able to share it coherently. This is really a gathering of intel for myself so i can check back in on it all in one place over a couple of posts.

Link (32 seconds)

Link (22 seconds)

The two videos immediately above and the screengrab below, illustrate the bones of what we worked on over the weekend. Between Kika and myself (chicken vs egg we cannot know what came first) when the right hand is the inside rein, Kika bulges out and my core collapses in, making her a right banana (pink chalk drawing below). I lose my right seat bone into the hollow she has created by bulging her ribcage out making my right leg longer on that side despite the stirrups being the same length.

One of the main things we work on in these videos is getting me to sit more on my left seat bone, so much so that I end up feeling like I might fall off the saddle on that side! 
However as you can see from the screengrab above (left) more of the detail on my breeches design can be seen to the right of the saddle, so there is still plenty room for me to sit in the tack once I straighten myself out in the videos to come. 
EB is an advocate for each rider creating their own personal checklist for what they have to get right at the start of the ride (and indeed periodically check in with during the ride) to best help their horse and get the best out of the spin. My checklist is created during this lesson and I will address it better in the later post that will deal with the Saturday's second lesson & videos.
Link (10 seconds)

The video immediately above and those that follow start to delve into helping me correct myself in the tack. It is amazing to me, how much EB can (a) see from the ground and (b) know how to correct with what seem like tiny suggestions, but that have immediate effects. It truly has been a mind blowing experience for me and I am so glad to have these videos to watch over and over again and hope to train myself out of my nasty habits - here's hoping i don't over compensate and go to far the other way!

Link (15 seconds)

Link (2mins 15seconds)
I feel I should probably also address at this stage that I know my hands/shoulders & upper back are atrocious however EB rightly opted to concentrate on my seat area first and work up/down from there as appropriate. She did also recommend I go to a chiropractor to straighten myself out just to be sure I am not throwing us both out of balance and I have every intention of doing so. However after having received all these instructions while I'm "out of whack" I am going to work on them for a few weeks/months to straighten us both out as per these instructions and if/when EB can come back in the autumn I will go to a chiro before her return and hopefully the work we do between now and then will help re-balance my right banana and muscle the right side of her back.

Link (17 seconds)

EB had me use the mirrors to establish my checklist and check our straightness, seems obvious, but I am always terrible for using the mirrors to look at what the horse is doing rather than what I am doing on top of the horse - I hope to correct this going forward and to pay closer attention to what my body is doing and how it might affect the horse! Above shows me still crooked and below shows a slight improvement - small changes for immediate effect #mindblown

Link (23 seconds)

Link (14 seconds)

Above was our first trot of the day in all its hideousness as my reins are atrociously long and heels nudge and annoy her - honestly these videos highlight to me what saintly creatures I have! I cannot believe how they put up with me.

Link (51 seconds)

Trotting on our slightly better rein above, and below a close up tutorial for what I should be doing in rising trot and where the balance point is. As seen in previous post, it is considerably more forward that I had previously thought. Also eurgh, is that an unflatering rider angle - but very useful video footage for me going forward.

Link (32 seconds)

Below is an interesting video to me, well they are all interesting, but this one really captures a moment of satisfaction/relief from Kika when I get myself into a better rising trot position and rhythm around about the 0:45second mark.

Link (1min 32 seconds)

Watching these videos in particular I think my back is still quite hollow, but hopefully I can correct that now that I can see myself doing it.

Link (1min 6 seconds)

Link (27 seconds)

Screengrab for those anti-videolites. I'm still far from perfect, I almost seem to be grabbing
with my knee and deff still have a hollow back but she looks good even if not quite stepping under herself.

Link (39 seconds)

Above and below is our worst side for some trotting video, I know you must be thinking how could it get worse?! 🤗
The video below also introduces me to leg yielding, I haven never learned/been taught how to do lateral work so I typically tend to stay away from it. Although I have always wanted to learn to do it and am hopeful that with EB's continued help I may finally straighten myself out enough to learn correctly so as to not confuse the horses by asking when I am utterly out of balance.

Link (1min 45 seconds)

Link (48 seconds)

The last two videos are EB valiantly trying to help me straighten my head upon my shoulders - simple you'd think, but not with yours truly's brick like noggin.

Link (9 seconds)

Link (46 seconds)

Now for the notes I was given during the theory portion as we viewed the videos; I will try to list them in bullet points as hopefully they will make sense after viewing the videos - not to mention the fact that this post is verging on novel length already.

  • Nose, chin in line with zip of top & mane of horse = central axis
  • Left leg my toe turns out
  • Ski/Snow plow position to wrap my thighs around horse // don't pinch knees
  • Core collapses right - right hip is lower than left - put more weight down left seat bone to balance saddle. Seat bone does not mean down stirrup/leg
  • Drive left seat bone down and lift right hip
  • 70% weight down left seat bone and have right seat bone closer to her spine
  • Left ear down
  • Kika stays longer/lingers on right front leg - I have to work slightly against her and place more emphasis on left fore leg lingering
  • Sleep lying in my left side = 8 hours of practice 🙃
  • Also sit on chairs with left seat bone hanging off the side
  • Suggested ball excercise - sit on ball as if on horse, use thigh to pull leg up & forward and ease back down while keeping shoulders slightly forward for balance

Following this theory lesson, there was another riding lesson where I attempted to put all this info into practice. However I'll deal with that in another post - hopefully next Tuesday!
Massive thanks to those who viewed and read this far, apologies for my poor post construction. Hopefully you can still get a feel for the teaching method and can take something away from it. There is plenty more to follow, I just need to find the time to get it all from my phone (notes) & memory stick (videos) into something resembling a post format, even if only for myself to have a collected place to check back in and refresh my memory of what to do when riding by myself.

Happy Easter

PS - I really hope the videos work


  1. All the media 💖
    You look great, feel great lady

    1. You're very kind babes, I see a lot I don't like & hope to rectify

  2. I both adore bio mechanics very very very much, and simultaneously am always feeling kinda inadequate when thinking about it too. Bc damn it's hard! Nice work tho, sounds like a wonderful lesson!!!

    1. Total brain drain when it came to these lessons - I adore it but am so bad at isolating body parts. I need to do some serious conditioning & strength work for myself

  3. Thanks for sharing! Definitely seems like a total brain explosion.

    1. As you'll see from the final videos in the next post which were from the second lesson later the same day as these I had a brain meltdown 🤣😂

  4. It's amazing what tiny adjustments to our body can do for us riding! What a cool clinic

    1. Whoops not sure how I missed this back in April.
      I think there are Wanless technique trainers in Ireland in hope to look up when Kika gets back so we can build upon all this


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