When you embark on an “improve your riding” project it can all feel like an impossible task. There are so many things to remember and then do all at once, whilst on top of a moving animal!
So, what to do?
Whenever you are trying to master something give yourself just 2-3 cues max-even just 1 if you are really struggling. That way you can just focus on the most important elements, nail those and then tidy it up later.
As an example I spent some time essentially re-learning my rising trot mechanism in order to be able to influence the horse more with my body.
This involved such things as:
Hinge more over the knee
More ab recruitment
Tuck tail bone under
Keep elbows in
Draw shoulder blades back and down
Look straight ahead
Stabilise lower leg
Thats 7 cues there and to be honest there were probably more!
Instead of trying to do all of those new things at once I focused on the ones that would make the most immediate impact.
For me that was the stability of my trot so I focused on:
Hingeing over the knee
Tucking the tail bone under
This was more than enough to be getting on with and they were all in linked areas so it was essentially re-aliging my pelvis as a starting point.
Once I had got those pretty much there, I added in stabilising the lower leg and then looking straight ahead.
It is only now that these are “almost” second nature that I have started to focus on my elbows and shoulders.
Now this seems like a long process, but on the other hand if I had just tried to change everything all at once I would have found it too difficult and probably given up-so I would not have imrpved my rising trot at all.
However this way, I have been continually month by month, ride by ride been slowly making changes and improving my trot.
What do you want to improve in your riding? Break down the things that you need to focus on to improve and then just pick no more than 3 from that list to start with.
Imagine how much you could have improved in 1,2,3 and 6 months from now;my rising trot looks like a different rider!