A riding secret few know.

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A riding secret few know.

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  • Dekunfy saddle
  • Charles DeKunfy

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  • 1 Post By tinyliny

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    09-09-2011, 08:19 PM
Super Moderator
A riding secret few know.

Years ago I went and auditted a Charles DeKunfy (spell?) clinic in my area. I had only a year or so of dressage lessons, so I hardly understood a thing that he said. But one thing I remember him saying, something I have heard NOWHERE else , for some reason, was to use your upper body in rythm with your horse's walk to allow his forward movement it's fullest potential.

It's like this:
When the horse walks your lower body must belong to the horse's motion. There is a forward movement and a lateral movement and your hips must go king of rolling up and forward with each time the horse steps under himself. The right rear steps under himself, your right hip raises and movew forward with this motion. And vice versa for the left side.

Most riders will either keep the upper body perfectly still, almost a frozen block under which the lower body undulates. OR, they will actually counter the lower half of their body's movement by rotating the upper half in a countering motion. So, when right hip moves forward, the rider swings the left shoulder forward and vice versa. This really dampens the horse's forward energy and is a terrible waste of both rider and horse;s energy . NOT good !

But another choice exists, to amplify the horses walk;
When the right hip advances (the rider's) as the horse steps under himself, the rider can also, ever so slightly, advance the shoulder ON THE SAME SIDE. So, both rider hip and rider shoulder (to a lesser degree) advance as that side of the horse is also advancing.

It is hard to get the rythm and keep it as it's a bit counter intuitive. It is more natural for us to counter the upper and lower body to each other, like a pole that the lower half twirls one way while the upper counterbalances it by twirling the opposite. This feels natural, but like I said, it dampens the FORWARD movement of the horse.

Try it sometime. Go out walking and kind of listen to your hips and focus on one to start with. As it rolls forward, move the same side shoulder WITH it and see if after a bit you don't find your horse moving along just a fraaction freer.
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    09-09-2011, 09:44 PM
One way that I learned to achieve this, was by riding bareback on a horse.
You can actually do this in more than just a walk, too.

If you move with a horse, you are helping them keep into their gate. It takes a -lot- of leg work, but I think it's worth it. In its perfect form, you can get a horse to move silently from one gate to another simply by moving your hips and using your legs.

It's not just through getting them into a gate, or keeping them, but helping them to slow down, too. A horse will normally fall out of a gate unless aided in some way.

This may not be what you are talking about exactly, but I thought I would put my two cents into it.
    09-10-2011, 12:13 AM
OOOooOOOooohh i'm going to try this!
    09-10-2011, 12:28 AM
Super Moderator
Oxer, I would really like to hear what you think about this and if you can feel any difference. It requires some playing around to get it right. When I was practicing and talking about this with a friend at the barn today (she agrees with me that it is effective) we tried to do it while WE walked and it made us look like two bowlegged cowboys walking into the saloon, you know that image from the old western where they kind of rock from side to side with their hands held over their six shooters. Got a chuckle out of that.
    09-10-2011, 12:41 AM
Sunday is my quiet free day at the barn. I'm excited to try this!
I was thinking of doing this bareback... do you think that's best? Or do you think this is something I should do with the saddle on?
    09-10-2011, 04:54 AM
Super Moderator
Doesnt' matter.
Whatever you are comfy in.
    09-11-2011, 07:38 PM
If you walk with your eyes closed, you can really feel each hip rise and fall.
    09-11-2011, 07:59 PM
I'm going to give it a try.
From the responses bareback could be the way to go. However, I tend to fall off more when trying to ride bareback, than if glued to the saddle. But I have been told 95% of members are female so by giving it a try am I keeping up the end of the remaining 5% or perhaps the remaining 5% do not not need the training. (my way out)
    09-11-2011, 08:35 PM
I tried this a little bit today. Threw the bridle on him and hopped on bareback.
Just kinda' let him walk around on the buckle. It was a very interesting feeling. I tend to get on and put him straight to work. Bending, flexing, asking for upward and downward transitions. Instead, this time I focused more on my body and feeling the motion of him at the walk. He felt really light, dropped his head, and was giving me a much more active walk. It was pretty cool!

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