Multitasking in Motion

I’ve been through the experience of rebuilding my seat – and requisite habits and muscle memory – enough to know intrinsically that things *will* get better.    And already, I’m finding my “sweet spot” more quickly – almost automatically even – rather than requiring a full-body position re-org to get there.  However, I was convinced I had forgotten how to bend.  “We have to work on this!” I insisted to Christy, convinced that I had lost this basic skill.

Happily for me, Christy worked us through some serpentines that suggested the real issue was the fact that I wasn’t riding the bend, I wasn’t asking for it.   But when I concentrated and rode it, I was able to do a decent serpentine with a decent quality trot.

Mind you, here’s what was going on in my head as we went into the first loop:

Leg ON more trot now hold with abs HOLD ABS half halt no REALLY half halt hold onto the dang reins for the love of all that is good and holy *ELBOWS* thumbs closed, there you go, good girl ABS ABS FOREWARD for pete’s sake CORRECT TAP TAP TAP WITH WHIP okay, that’s forward, Good boy! now inside leg to outside rein come ON use that inside leg good good straighten a couple strides new inside leg now  FORWARD ABS hold that rein….Wait, what? What’s wrong? You forgot to breathe?  Okay then, breathe!

You see my problem.  It’s hard to keep all these balls in the air, because they aren’t yet habits.  Remember George Morris’ “hard easy habit beautiful” construct?  Well, I am firmly mired in “hard.”

Christy did spot – and fix – a key problem last night.  The bend to the right was easy, and acceptable.  The left? Not so much.  I am a bit stiffer in that hip,  but a technique she gave me really helped immensely – and immediately.   Christy directed me to imagine that I was pushing that left hip toward my right hand.  That did the trick.  By lifting and pushing that hip toward my hand, I was able to give a clear and correct aid, rather than just nudging hopefully (but inconsequentially) with my leg.  Can I just say that I love the fact that I have a trainer who is this picky, and can see these little things, and knows how to communicate the fix to me in a way that it actually sinks into my cluttered brain?

We did some work at the canter, and did produce some decent work.  Importantly, I’m feeling more balanced and able to influence the horse from my seat at the canter, riding that gait, in effect, more purposefully.   This means I’m going to have to start multitasking at the canter – and riding into the transition with more balance – and more contact.  This is next on the list of concurrent tasks to manage.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

About Sarah Skerik
Sarah Skerik is an experienced digital business executive and strategist with a long track record of success in team leadership, employee development, marketing and business development.

2 Responses to Multitasking in Motion

  1. Steph says:

    Haha! It seems like you’re going through the same thing I am as far as trying to process so many commands at once to get him round and bend. Now I don’t feel so bad 🙂

    • Sarah Skerik says:

      Learning to ride every stride and make constant adjustments is definitely a challenge. Dressage is truly an exercise in micromanagement. I can tell you that it does get easier as good habits form – you’ll start to automatically respond correctly, and quickly. But forming those habits takes a lot of practiced repetition!

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