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Here's a quick tutorial on the movement of the connection, with the horse and the rider working together.
So, as you can see, today I am talking about the rising trot. I’m trying to demonstrate how you need to bend and straighten your elbows in the rising trot as you go forwards, up and down! So, as your knees bend and straighten, your elbows need to bend and straighten together; they work in unison to stabilise the contact so the horse can go forwards into a steady bit, in a steady rein.
You are seeing Amo right from the beginning, so he is a little bit playful, but I just ignore that, keep the contact steady, and gradually he starts to go to the rein and develop relaxation.
This tutorial is all about learning to move with the horse, sitting 'still' and allowing the horse to work underneath you. I’ve tried to exaggerate things at times, so you can see what I am highlighting. So sometimes, if my legs move a little bit too much, I’m trying to push him forward to create more movement so that you can see the movement in my arms to steady my hands.
I hope you find this useful. Stay safe and keep positive!
“Hi, everyone. I've just come out on Amo, so I would just walk round like this, just to let his muscles warm up, just for probably 5/10 minutes, and then I would start something.
"So this is just a progression on what we did the other day on the movement of the walk within the contact and the rider. So you can see my hands going; forward and back, forward and back... My hips swinging; back, forwards, back, forwards, back, forwards. So we’re going to talk about trot.
"So I’m just going to go into a trot. I’ve got low hands, and I’m just going to rest my little finger on his neck, push my shoulders down... He’s got his little stallion flick! If you can see that my elbows are bending and straightening; so bend, straight, bend, straight, bend, straight, bend, straight. He’s quite playful, which he often is, but I’m not restricting him in any way. Bend, straight, bend, straight, bend, straight... exaggerate it, hands on the saddle... bend, straight. So he’s to the contact, even though he’s flicking. I want to walk, so I relax, lower my rise, and walk.
"In preparation for trot, my hands are swinging; forwards and back, forwards and back, forwards and back. My hips are swinging... he’s reasonably into the rein, so I’ve got Chihuahuas. I’m going to just squeeze, I go rising, my hand stays down where it is, I’m putting it on the saddle so you can see how I’m bending and straightening my elbows.
"So my contact is not at all jumping up and down, it’s moving with the horse. My elbows are bending and straightening to compensate for my body going up and down. So I’m going to now not bend and straighten my elbows. So you see straight away he doesn’t like it and he goes all hollow.
"Again hips are swinging, arms going forward and back, so connection is there, I’ve got my Chihuahuas, I just squeeze the sides and go rising straight away. My elbows bend and straighten. So I just ignore him chucking his head around and just keep bending and straightening my elbows, they’re working in unison with my knees, so as I go up, down, up, down, straight, bend, straight, bend, elbows do the same, knees do the same. This keeps the contact steady. Now I’m going to stop doing it... straight away he goes flat, the rhythm changes. So I’m going to push, get my Chihuahuas back, soften my elbows, bend and straighten my elbows, and he starts to go to the rein again. So I’m going to walk, so I just relax and stop driving, and sit.
"Ok, trot again, squeeze, to the rein... I know it looks easy, but it’s not, this is the essence of everything. If you can’t move with your horse within the contact, if you’ve blocked with your seat and your hands, you’re on the highway to nowhere; it doesn’t matter how much you tweak or flex, you’re not going to get it.
"Rhythm is very important, an even rhythm with the horse all the time. Your legs should be dropped down. And I like to ride with my leg a little bit forward in front of the girth, but that’s me. If I take my upper body forward, so you take the weight off his back, it loosens his back and he starts to stretch. Then as I sit up, take my body back, he comes more onto the rein.
"So we’re going to trot again, hands low, shoulders down, elbows; bend, straight, bend, straight... knees; bend, straight, bend, straight... they work together. So my arm is elastic. It’s got to be elastic. The contact doesn’t change, that’s down to you to make the pressure correct, and train the horse through having an elastic arm, bending and straightening the elbows in the trot work, and then the horse will respond. So I want to walk now, so I’m just going to slow my body down. Now I want to trot, I just squeeze.
"So now I’m going to do some transitions for you. So trot, squeeze, elbows, til I’m in rhythm; forward, down, forward, down, forward, down... elbows; bend, straight, bend, straight... rhythm, rhythm. If I want to walk, I relax.
"Trot, keeping a light seat, not over driving, which is what a lot of people, I think, do, just you know, in their effort to improve... they’re not doing it from a nasty point of view. Relax, lower the rise, walk.
"Swingy walk, swingy hips, contact, tram lines.”
Find out more about Sarah Williams and check out the rest of her helpful video tutorials, covering a range movements and transitions > View Sarah's profile here.