A or O ...

There are so many possibilities of what I can ask my body to do! Sometimes I forget some of those for a while and then they pop up all of a sudden. Does that sound familiar?

Today as I was playing with shoulder in with Ivo, my 23 years old black KWPN gelding, some genius in the back of mind remembered me of A's and O's. I guess that does not sound familiar, so here's a little story.

As I was riding I remembered one lesson during the 10 week Intensive at Temenos Fields in 2011. Cocoa and I had been riding in the big front field. We did a lot of circles and lateral work along the fence. Our focus was to do some lateral work while keeping the sweet spot, especially the relaxation, regularity and rhythm. Not an easy thing with a superflexible horse like Cocoa, I can tell you! So he made me search what I could do in my body to help him and we made some really fine progress there! In the end he felt great!

At the end of the session all the riders gathered in the dressage arena. Karen asked us to desribe what we had learned that day in max. 5 words. Now usually what happens with such a question is that you start talking ...  5 words become 5 sentences ... 5 sentences become 5 minutes ... and you end up dreaming about it at night! That sounds familiar too???

But this time I did not have to think twice, it came to me in a second: "O in stead of A" was the most valuable lesson that day!

Still wondering what that means huh? It's about the riders legs! I discovered I could change the position of my legs from A to O, releasing muscles in the upper leg while still feeling my horse with my calves and having enough pressure on the stirrups. This way my seat gave more room for Cocoa's back and ribs to move, and I could feel the rhythm and suppleness improve.

... Back to Ivo's shoulder-ins today ... After some not so good tries and searching for changes I could make, I remembered about the A's and O's. I made O legs and all of a sudden he flowed like water through 70 meters of shoulder in, nicely breathing, balanced and even without loosing impulsion (which is really REALLY good for my extreme LBI :o)

So ... try "O in stead of A" sometimes. Being bowlegged can bring you harmony!

A or O Sport Horsemanship United
Disclaimer: don't blame me or Karen if you end up looking like this!