A good coach can see what's happening before the rider feels it. I've often wondered if my coach is some kind or weird horse psychic because of what she sees before it happens, but as my feel gets refined and my eye gets better watching her teach, I am beginning to see and feel it as well. She very, very rarely gets on a horse in a lesson and usually only to ride through what I do not have the timing or feel yet to do. There are only a handful of horses she will ride, I'm lucky that mine is one of them.
I feel like any coach who feels that they need to get on a horse to feel what's going on is an inexperienced rider themselves. When I am teaching, only if the horse is so far off from another whom I have ridden do I think I need to get on for a spin. The issue for me in doing that is it is usually that I can work through the issue easily and then it frustrates me that the rider can't do it when for me it is almost in my nature. So I avoid getting on the horse until I have an idea of the communication style of the rider and that I know I can explain what I am doing. However usually going through a few analogies and exercises the rider can come to their own understanding which is ideal.
And yes if you put leg on your horse and it runs away, you didn't hold it enough and it is your fault. I've put 20-25 rides on a greenbroke horse never off the lunge and he is already schooling first level and hacking out quietly. Do you think he didn't run away or buck the first times I used a leg aid? Reinforcement and training are what have him where he is now, not eye rolling at important concepts and how hard it makes your life to do something fundamental like put a leg on and then deal with the result. It's called training and riding, not pretending to be a sack of potatoes.
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I really like your explanation as you have made it easy to understand. It was also though provoking. I am now thinking back and asking myself if my current trainer explained WHY I didn't have enough leg. I know a lot of it is visual to her and she says my legs don't "hug" him. She also tells younger students that their calves are their "seatbelts" and they must always hold on tightly with their "seatbelts." Cinny doesn't like the whole "seatbelt" approach and hat IS my fault because I never gave him more leg than I needed to make him move forward..which as I said is a mere tickle of the calf...a split second squeeze then release and only gently resting my lower legs against him. Sometimes all I have to do is a hairline movement of an ankle.
And the constant holding with the leg confuses me. This may be where I am very wrong. I have always learned to ride a horse solely on core and balance and legs are just cues, signals but not meant to hold with. Maybe my very first H/J trainer I the 80's that ingrained this in me was the start of going down a wrong path I don't know. I do know that almost any horse I have ridden since then, I can literally lift my calves, off them, let my legs just hang and no matter what they do I just sort of stick....like handgalloping full out with no legs holding you on, sort of in this sweet spot of balance where there is no effort at all...the horse just moves under you freely.
There was a day that they had a sprinkler in the arena to do some obstacle work with the 4 H Girls and I wa riding Cin bareback. When the water hit him the first time he leaped sidewas and did a spin. The trainer and her asisstant dropped their jaws and said "How did you stay on, you aren't holding on with your legs at all" And then told me I need to start "using my seatbelts."
I know I am by far not even an intermediate Dressage rider. I know my trainer isn't exactly a Dressage trainer (mainly a 4H leader that owns a barn). Maybe I am having too much attitude in looking for her flaws. Or maybe she really confusing me.
I admit that where it comes to Dressage and my horse, I really don't know what is right from wrong anymore. I read and watch from training parafenelia from Conrad Schumacher and Jane Savoie, and think "hey, wow, that really helped" but then have a trainer tell me to do the opposite things or that something that Schumacher says is an expected response from a green or young horse is something that is very wrong and I should NEVER allow Cinny to do and I'm crazy to think that's correct. Sigh.... and then a reputable clinician when asked which is right then ends up agreeing with the vids/books....
IT's no wonder Cinny and I are such a big mess.