Become a master beginner

I heard a saying on Warwick Schillers podcast-”Beginners take intermediate lessons, intermediates take advanced lessons and advanced dancers take beginners lessons with an advanced perspective”. Or words to that effect. 

Basically once you have learnt the basics of a skill the way you get better is not with new moves but by being better at the original moves now you have more experience of them.

This is true of your horse when you’re riding and in how your body works whilst riding.

If you haven’t established a balanced walk, trot and canter you’ll come unstuck further down the line when you try to change the gears up and down within a pace, collection, extension or you try to go sideways. If you don’t have a balanced canter you won’t be able to canter well over a fence etc. 

In terms of your own body whilst riding if you don’t have a stable seat, good rein contact and at least a near grasp at symmetry you’ll come unstuck further down the line. For example an unstable seat can’t ask for and maintain collection and extension or land well after a fence ready to ride on to the next one. A huge difference in asymmetry left to right will make one rein much better than the other, it will make your lateral work harder or your balance a bit funky on turns to and from fences. 

If you think of the Spanish Riding School riders spending two years on the lunge with no stirrups before they are allowed to ride independently, they have truly mastered the basics so that when they begin to ask for more advanced work their position is so ingrained and secure that doesn’t hold them back. 

Now I’m not suggesting you go and spend 2 years riding on the lunge, although some lunge lessons would definitely help. I hope my instructor isn’t reading this……….

What I am suggesting is that when you’re planning your own fitness don’t be fooled into thinking you need evermore elaborate and complicated exercises, particularly when you haven’t spent a solid amount of time mastering some basic exercises. Watching people wobble through exercises with terrible form pains me as I know those people aren’t really going to improve from that suggestion, at best they’ll feel some burn at worst they’ll end up injured. 

Master some simple movement patterns and I mean really master them.

For example with a Squat.

  • Is there equal weight through the feet?
  •  Do your knees stay aligned over your feet?
  • Do you hips travel straight up and down without a left right shimmy?
  • Does your core stay strong to support your back?
  • Do your shoulders stay down and back?
  • Did you breathe?

That’s a lot to think about in just one move! So if you’re rushing through them, then adding weights, instability etc without ever really mastering at the start you’ve skipped the beginner lesson and it’s going to come back to bite you at some point in intermediate or advanced.

This is why my online programme isn’t all out hardcore 5-6 days a week. It’s 1 strength and 1 stretch with some solid foundation building exercises with progressions and regressions were necessary. I give you the cues you need to keep good form and we don’t rush to try and fit as much in as possible. It’s always quality over quantity. It’s short sessions of no more than 30 minutes, so it’s easy to fit around work, horses, family etc and it’s just £5 per month!


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