Philosophy, methods, current influences

It's the rider. Simple, Elegant, Us. Thousands of competent teachers can tell the rider what the horse should be doing differently but few can tell the rider how to tell the horse! My particular talent lies here, with the rider, since it is she who leads the dance. The horse is a beautiful living breathing bio-feedback machine and it is with him that my first loyalty lies - he shows me how the rider feels to him. I return the favor by helping the rider to communicate with clarity.

I strive to keep the work as simple as possible and as detailed as necessary to achieve the rider’s goal of competitive success or personal enrichment. If you can learn to feel your own feet in the ground you can learn to feel his and he will follow you. So after a lifetime spent with horses, the last 25 yrs of dressage study, it has occured to me that dressage is really very simple. Not easy but simple.

Horses and students are individuals and certain matches of temperament and physical attributes make the journey together a bit faster but it is my life work to make the journey rewarding for both. I ride all of my “program students” horses regularly to check my eye with the "feel" of the horse. Custom training programs or school horse lessons available.

My primary current influences: I have been a student of the Alexander Method since 2008 I was first introduced to Alexander's work by Mary Wanless who has been a major influence in my career as a teacher.

Friday, December 26, 2008

the importance of saddle fit!

I'll start with my 2 cents worth on game stopper #1. Oh, the murky world of saddle fitting...... it is riddled with myth, and avarice. Some horses will "go" in just about anything and some riders are so talented as to ride effectively in just about anything but for the rest of us, saddle fit for both partners is really important. We all have to compromise a little and over the years I find that I can get the job done in most anything that doesn't hurt the horse but I am in no way getting it done as well as I would in a correctly fitted saddle (for me and for the horse). Horses backs are unique and riders seats are too. Two 130lb 5.6" women do not necessarily share the same seat shape and in fact rarely do they.
I have ridden in Kieffers, Passiers (nice for a traditional saddle), several custom Schlesses air and not, and now I ride in Reactor Panels (RP)

I have used RP saddles for 6 years and have over a dozen students riding in them. No it is not a requirement!! Folks borrow them and their horses almost always move better, so naturally they want one of their own. I believe that they are the best option on the market today. They are a gift to the horse's backs, spreading our weight over a large area like a western saddle. I have had several vets and chiropractors look at them with excitment. One vet looked at my RP and remarked that he almost never diagnosed sore backs from saddle fit issues on Western horses and he thought the wide distribution of weight was way. Finally the "english" saddle offers this comfort and weight distribution without losing any of the communication. In fact it is so much easier to feel when you are both comfortable:-> I also like them because as the horse developes and needs to have the saddle refitted, RPs are easily adjusted. Lisa Jordon of RP Saddlery is a brilliant saddle fitter and although she comes up at least once a year, I find that I have to adjust saddles in between and when I get stuck, she patiently coaches me via Bluetooth. There is a link to their site to the right if you are curious.

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