It's kind of amazing.
|Exhibit A: hands flat, elbows locked|
When we started our lesson on Sunday, she explained (I'm abridging: any and all errors mine) that there are two tendons that run through your arm. The larger tendon is attached to your bicep and is very strong. Putting my thumbs up disengages that tendon and allows my hands to follow Cuna's mouth.
|Exhibit B: hands flat|
Interesting. In our photoshoot the week before, Cuna and I BATTLED over the canter. This shot shows my thumbs up a little bit, and Cuna is responding well, but my flat hands and locked elbows were pissing him off and that is not a good way to do dressage.
Yesterday, I decided to really hone in on that piece of information. I kept my reins short, my hands UP and my thumbs UP. I focused on following Cuna's mouth no matter what. I kept the connection with the bit by allowing my elbows to work.
It was actually pretty hilarious. Cuna cantered around half the arena acting tight and braced. Then his rhythm slowed, his head dropped, and his weight shifted ever so slightly back. It wasn't a fancy dressage canter (I was half seating in jump tack after all), but it was 100% better than the canter we battled over a week before.
The feel was incredible. My hands were light and connected and my elbows flowed with the horse.
I'm really excited to keep developing this trend. I can be so much more correct and effective as a rider and I know Cuna appreciates it. I feel like I've had yet another breakthrough that will impact every area of my riding. * Dressage isn't the only place to have break throughs--anyone else struggling througn riding issues? Haha, or should I say, "Any one not struggling with riding issues?"
*Oh, AND AND AND we jumped the scary brick wall fence all by our onsies and it was awesome. Old man didn't even blink. <3 him.