Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Stay Not Freeze

I'm picking up on something. A pattern is emerging. I need to break the pattern right now if I'm gonna progress in my riding.

When M says "stay," I think "freeze."

Example: "Stay still, don't change anything in front of the jump" leads to me NOT MOVING for the last two strides, just sitting there doing nothing. Which is not what she meant, because that translates into dropping the horse, losing the rhythm, and then good luck getting a decent jump. She doesn't really mean "don't do anything," she means "don't change what you're doing." I've got this sorted out while jumping now. Part of what helped was M saying "stay connected" and reminding me to count my rhythm.

Staying in the moment and not abandoning Mosey.

Now I'm having the same issue with transitions. I can competently ride my lovely horse from trot to walk and back now (after like 25 years of riding), but I freeze in the halt ("If I sit here perfectly still, you'll be perfectly still, too, right?" Um, no).

He needs to stop moving but I need to ride him while he's standing still.

And then yesterday, M realized that I'm still riding the canter transitions like he doesn't know what those are--tipping a little forward, throwing the reins at him, driving with my seat. Instead, I need to STAY--I need to sit up, keep riding, do just what I do in the walk-to-trot transitions. But instead, I FREEZE, and do nothing. And then he inverts and runs into the transition because that's what he has learned. From me. Yay.


I can fix this, I think, by riding Red. His canter transitions aren't perfect yet but I know that on him I can stay sitting up and keep the trot rhythm going (and I bet if I really think about how I'm riding them, they'll get better...). But I need to be sure that when I get on Mo, he's getting that same ride from me.


Is this something you've dealt with? How did you fix it?


  1. Wow - I just realized that is exactly what I do in the halt too now. Not when riding hunters or anything, no, halt was a piece of cake there, but now that I am focusing on the halt as this thing that needs to be done well for dressage, now suddenly we can't. and don't even get me started on canter transition. ug. Fix it? hahaha. Electric shock therapy perhaps?

  2. i have this problem too.... ugh. other words that i love to misinterpret include: 'settle' which i take to mean 'do nothing, stop riding' and 'forward' which should mean more lift and jump in the canter, but i actually understand as 'faster faster faster'.... (yes my trainers are sometimes quite frustrated by me lol)

  3. I totally know that feeling. Last night I was trying not to lean for canter poles, but instead I just sat still and didn't attempt to find a distance... so that wasn't good either.

  4. I tend to get stiff and "freeze" a lot -- both mentally and physically. What helps me is to think about "flowing" instead. If I'm in a line of jumps, and I need to stay the same, instead of thinking "DONT DO ANYTHING" I think about flowing with my horse. I dunno, for some reason "flow" really work for me?

  5. HAHA yeah guess what I was working on today? I have to be SO intentional with my canter transitions right now, because I take my leg off, curl, drop my hands, and let go of my core. And yeah, SHOCKER, then they suck. I seem to be good for about 1.5 decent t/c transitions a day right now, so I make myself do several each direction and really think through what I'm doing instead of getting frustrated with my horse for running on the forehand with his head up. ;-)

    Cuz yeah, not his fault. That's an old, terrible habit of mine that needs to be rooted out.

  6. I froze constantly when I was jumping! Instructors would be like "perfect, don't change a thing" so I'd sit perfectly still and lose my distance. I don't seem to do it as much in the dressage, I'm not sure if it's because of the nature of dressage or that I've had better dressage trainers than jumping trainers...