Symmetry, should this be important?
Symmetry, should this be important? YES.
For those of us striving to achieve a softer feel and balance, in asking less to get more with ideally a thought to guide our horse under us, to have a picture that looks as if you and your horse are one.
One, figuratively speaking, cannot do without the other, a symbiotic relationship.
That interests me and I suggest you as well. What is Symmetry? Symmetry is when it is the same on both sides.
How to consider its importance and practical application? First whatever discipline you are doing; dressage, eventing, reining, cow horse, trail ride or even pleasure ride, symmetry is important.
It can be as simply as mounting from both sides. Placing and removing head stall, saddling and unsaddling, leading your horse. A good place to start getting the horse comfortable from both sides. To do this successfully you have to co-ordinate oneself.
Then as ridden; Walking on a straight lines, circles, serpentines, figures of eight, rising to the correct diagonals, jumping etc. It helps having our bodies aligned, by staying centred. If you can maintain symmetry the balance for the horse is more natural, so we don’t inhibit them allowing for free movement.
Imagine having a back pack on and the weight moving constantly. Thus having to adjust the weight constantly. To the point you want to remove the pack. Or adjust accordingly to balance the load. A line of symmetry is your back line. This brings balance.
Therefore we need to learn how to control our weight distribution, posture and so forth. Control our movements, keep them to a minimum. When asking for a transition be aware of your symmetry make adjustments complete transition then return to natural symmetry so as not to interfere with horses’ new transition.
A transition to me refers to any change from the present moment. i.e. walk then trot, halt to forward movement, loose rein to light feel or collection. In my understanding just changing gaits is only a very small representation of a transition there is so much more and we need to be aware of this.
Keeping the horses symmetry requires us not to interfere or block the horse. The horse needs to feel as if it’s finding an easy place where it can get comfortable. It’s our job to let the horse feel good in this place. We don’t want them leaving.
The basic concept in riding is having the horse travel between your legs, in front of your feet and behind your hands while asking from your seat with no fuss.
Working on ourselves
In our quest for this, our efforts and energy, we need to work from within, ourselves.
Needing to improve us, where the effort has to come from. Not how hard we work on our horse. Some will ask but how will we improve our horse, I say improve yourself. Question yourself, where you are at and how you can further yourself? Then ask of your horse. Remember you can’t force things but you can offer things by setting up the horse to find what you are after. You may have to be firm but fair and ask only what your horse is capable of at that time. Listen to the horse, is your horse frustrated (back off), are you frustrated (back off). Don’t be too critical of yourself. It’s far better to, just stop and start over, that will prosper you. Remember you shouldn’t be on a time schedule. Getting positive small ideas across is far better than starting with lengthy problems.
Down the road you will be able to strengthen understanding between you and your horse, and it may surprise you what you can achieve and the level of understanding your horse will willingly come along with you, becoming as ONE.
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