Doing clinics with your horse and having lessons with a ‘strange’ instructor in front of an audience is not always easy.
Sometimes there are lots of ‘Gremlins‘ present during clinics…. most of them exist only in our mind.
And those Gremlins, especially if we feed them, can make us uncomfortable.
Gremlins are saying: “You can’t do this”, “You’re to old/young/busy/tired/stressed/…”, “Your horse isn’t ready”, “Don’t make a fool of yourself “, “You’re not good enough”, “You will make mistakes”, “What will the audience think of you!”
Gremlins give you a lot to worry about and lots of excuses to NOT attend a clinic/course/lesson/workshop.
But you can be comfortable and change your circumstances by changing your attitudes of mind.
Doing a clinic is 20% physical and 80% mental, our Gremlins are often the only thing stopping us.
So change your Gremlins
Perhaps one or more of the following thoughts might be useful for you.
To answer this question we go back to the foundation of dressage. The incentive to develop the dressage was fighting on horsesback.
With a sword or lance the rider had to be able to maneuver quickly so the horse had to be strong and supple.
When riding around an opponent the rider would use shoulder-in on a circle. In this video a rider rides around a pillar that is a kind of replacement for an opponent:
When riding around an opponent it is important to be able to target the weapon at the opponent, therefore the rider leans against his opponent...
This is the reason that we should sit more on the inside seat bone than on the outside in the exercise shoulder-in!
The quarter-in movements were very important and a ‘must’ in duels, because the sword was given as much space as possible without touching or hurting the head and neck of the horse.
In the maneuver ‘quarter-in’ the rider has to sit also more on the inside seat bone because again the rider leans against his opponent:
1. Firstly to approach him as closely as possible.
2. Secondly the ‘inside seat’ increases the range of the sword considerably.
3. Another advantage is that it teaches the horse to always step under the weight and the point of mass of the rider with his hind legs. Thanks to this support of the hind legs the impact of the sword will be much bigger. The opponent can feel the push of the hind legs when he has been hit by the sword.
4. And the rider will not fall backward out of the saddle because of the impact of the sword of the opponent. This will happen much easier if the rider would sit on the outside.
So in all side movements we use the so called ‘inside’ seat.
Whenever you are doing straightness training, always introduce your horse to his environment before you introduce him to the exercises, especially in clinics in a foreign environment.
In the beginning, put yourself between the risk (audience ) and the horse, so your horse has the feeling that you -as a true leader- protect thetwo-headed herd. Then the horse feels safe, starts to relax and you can get to work.
And remember: Leaders keep an eye on the environment, followers keep an eye on the leader.