This week I went to ride another upper-level horse. I have finally given up that “the man” was going to take me all the way. I have struggled with this decision for a year. And now I have to move on. I kind of felt like I was cheating. But I needed some motivation, so I started looking for a horse to lease. And what I found was “the man” rides totally different than other horses.
I have had to sit up and be very light on my horse’s back in order for him to be “through”. Like almost hovering over the saddle. I have a double bridle on, but I have very light contact and almost no curb rein. The horse I rode Friday, I had to sit deep in the saddle. On my pockets, as they say, and have a steady feel of his reins. Not harsh, but a good feel of his reins. When I changed the way, I was sitting in the saddle I felt like I had no coordination in my legs.
I felt like I didn’t know how to ride. Ok, I have been riding a LOOONNNGG time. And I have competed in upper-level dressage. But I was lost and very uncoordinated. When we schooled the piaffe I actually had to ride half-halts. With my horse, it’s all about setting the rhythm and lifting up. There is not half halt. Because there is no forward in my horse.
The weekend before I was at a clinic where most of the riders rode smaller horses and we all talked about If you sit lighter on the saddle your horse will move more forward and will lift up under you. I don’t think there is a right or wrong here. I think it is what works with the horse you are riding. I just find it very interesting how different it can be and yet we are all trying to get to the same place.
As an instructor, it also helps me get over the imposter syndrome. Because taking lessons from 2 very accomplished riders who teach 2 very different techniques. Both instructors have star-studded resumes and a list of credentials a mile long. And 2 totally different ways to get to the same place.