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Random thoughts on translating Gerd lessons

The worst ride and the best ride

Yesterday Claude and I were supposed to demo how the basics apply to the upper levels as part of a symposium Gerd was doing at the home barn. Well, the 45 auditors filed into the arena after the lecture... and Claude lost it. He was petrified. We could barely trot a circle at the far end. I was able to use some of my improved "use your leg" skills to get some degree of throughness and organization, but the big picture was disappointing. However, in the last few minutes I managed a certain way of using my core to get my leg aids on... that somehow bypassed tightening my seat at the same time.... and he came through! (It was of course 5 minutes after everyone left.) Very exciting.

Today, the crowd was still there (although fewer) when we rode during the lunch break -- and we had a great ride. Used my leg the new and improved way right from the beginning with great results. We were able to do all the Grand Prix movements (which we hadn't been working on at all) with a new degree of suppleness and throughness. Phew! Can't wait for my lesson tomorrow.

Things to think about

I hope to post a whole lesson soon, but this process has been slowed by technical challenges and Andrew being in quarantine for being COVID positive - but that is another day's post. As we work on posting a whole lesson, I have gathered some thoughts. Perhaps you can see if any strike a chord.

  • You have all heard me teach about the get round leg versus the go leg. I am now realizing that I was getting about a grade 3 roundness from leg but Gerd wants grade 9.9. A work in progress.

  • When Gerd says "give" he really means lengthen the rein a millimeter then take it back. Don't move the hand. Remember the vary-the-rein-length work we all did after his last clinic....

  • I have to be able to get the tempo control half-halt in the outside rein alone. I have to get more clear difference between suppling rein on the outside vs. come back to me on the outside.

  • Sitting "heavy" means be a big old squishy bean bag....perhaps filled with heavy ball bearings, but still bean bag. Heavy can't be hard.

  • Sitting "light" means still heavy/deep but with light aids.

  • When Gerd says tempo changes he really means stride length changes. I have tried to explain our English interpretation of this word as BPM, but no progress. Keep in mind he wants the same tempo but different stride length and power when he says this.

  • I need to be better about the small left right other words use slightly different aids in time with left side and right side of the horse. Sort of soften left -- soften right - soften left--repeat. This is often what I think when suddenly it gets better. Aids are best when in time with the feet -- yet another support to this theorem.

  • Stay "forward" in the seat means sternum up. Took me a long time to get that translation.

  • It is really, really hard to keep the seat soft while applying the get round leg. I must get this! (See paragraph 1.)

  • Gerd doesn't like it when I make a big powerful inhale or exhale. Says it interferes with my relaxation. Interesting. True. Have to explore this further .

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