Put It In Drive


The past month in our training has been one of me getting frustrated in a movement or some aspect of Dino's response to the aid, and then realizing days or weeks later that the problem came down to a fault in my position. 

Why is that always the answer?

In working with the Equibands a few days a week, I really battled with Dino's forward response. They are HARD work for him - imagine engaging all your core muscles like you're about to lift a heavy barbell. Now imagine someone's asked you to go for a jog while maintaining that posture and engagement. That's basically what working in the bands asks Dino to do, and while they made a big difference in his core engagement and posture, some days it was just tough to get him in front of the leg. 

Check the ABS! And my disengaged seat.

At the same time, my leg was starting to get really floppy in the sitting trot and I felt like I'd all of a sudden lost a lot of security in my seat. I did some work without stirrups and bareback to try and find my balance again, but what it came down to was that for some reason I had disengaged my seat bones from the saddle, effectively negating my forward aids and destabilizing my seat. 

When I corrected this by sitting more towards the pommel and tucking my seat under me so that my seat bones now were plugged into the saddle, it was like I had put my pony back in "Drive". All of a sudden my forward aids were more effective because I wasn't blocking him, I could influence his back more easily, and I felt WAY more secure in the tack - especially in sitting trot! 

My booty is not tucked in this photo, but Dino's is! LOVE his posture in the bands!

I'd also been struggling a ton with any and all lateral work to the right - honestly just getting the right bend had devolved into a hot mess by the beginning of April. I was beginning to wonder if Dino's right stifle was out of whack again already - maybe we needed to inject the other joint compartments, or perhaps he needed a chiro adjustment. I was ready to do whatever he needed, but I wanted to see if I could fix it with training first. 

The solution ended up being 50% revisiting the lateral response to my right leg, and 50% fixing the position of my godforsaken seatbones. I had an INCREDIBLE lightbulb moment this week where I realized that MY SEATBONES CONTROL WHERE THE HIND LEGS GO. Like, they are directly correlated. If I move my right seatbone forward or back by a fraction of an inch, Dino's right hind leg moves laterally exactly in response. I realized that a big part of the issue had been that my seat was blocking his body from performing the bend, and adjusting this tiny aspect of my position totally fixed the issues I was having with him coming off the rail in shoulder-in right. 

This discovery is AMAZING, but it also reinforces what I learned in my last post - I have to be WAY more stable and WAY stronger to be able to have the body control I need to make these minute adjustments in my seat. The movement is one of a literal inch, and that kind of precision requires a kind of strength and stability I don't quite have yet. 

Time to hit the gym! 


  1. Ohhhh I feel this deeply. I do find it a little trickier to get my body to behave on Shiny vs the full size horses. I think it's a lot harder on the ponies! Or maybe it's just more obvious when I'm wrong? Hmmm...

    1. I think our mistakes in balance and alignment definitely have more of an effect on ponies! They aren’t big enough to cover for us when we’re incorrect!

    2. I have definitely found the same thing! My clients' Friesians barely feel it when I'm a bit off, they just power on through for the most part, but my itty-bitty Arabian is uber-sensitive to my positional flaws. Of course, part of that could just be the hotblood vs. coldblood sensitivity.


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