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Seat and legs and hands and unicycles

For as long as I can remember, I have been believed that separating the hands-and-upper-body messages from the seat-and-legs message is a sacrosanct concept of good riding. In order to collect and balance your horse, you have to tell his front half to wait with your hands-and-upper-body, while saying go with your seats-and-legs. This division into halves has been huge in my thinking forever. And you would never do both at the same time, as this would be a clashing of aids.

These last two months have changed the course of that belief.

I have learned the duology of

1. seat-and-legs

working independently from

2. hand-and-upper-body

is good.


a trilogy:

1. Legs

2. Seat

3. hands-and-upper-body

is way better! I must master three separate gauges that need to be dialed correctly at the correct time.

I have always thought about leg just as an extension of seat. If I could get a result from moving a seat bone, which in turned moved my leg a tiny amount, I was thrilled. No longer. With Gerd's coaching I am working on always having the softest seat possible. A seat that cares for the back and encourages the swing and builds relaxation. The leg might at the same time bring on energy, or indicate direction, but those things should be independent of the soft seat that keeps the back swinging. So another separation of church and state results in better throughness.

As if it wasn't hard enough to rub your tummy and pat your head, now it seems to ride well you need to rub your tummy and pat your head while riding a unicycle.... on a muddy road.... in the dark.... in a thunderstorm...

I have particularly been thinking about the trilogy in the flying changes. If I ask for the change with my seat, am I going to interfere with the swing and relaxation? Should the flying change be more leg into the soft seat? Or can I stay soft enough to swing through a flying change. I think so. Stay tuned as I work on it.

Here is our lesson from yesterday if you want a whole hour to ponder:

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1 Comment

Kathy Gubar
Kathy Gubar
Feb 10, 2023

Clause looks so much more relaxed and confident in his work now. Really interesting thought of the trilogy of aids. Congratulations!

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