If I were normal I am sure that would have been the case. Alas, I a gifted little comquat and well...do you think falling down is a good impression? Well how about making your horse fall down, and then you falling down, all while just standing on the ground, holding reins?
No worries, Savvy and I bounced right back up and got back to learning, pretending very hard that did not happen.
Fine. Here's video. Get your laughs out and move on to serious absorbtion of some really cool information.
I especially love my friend's reaction. :P
The School of Legerete was founded by Philippe Karl and more information about his philosophy can be found here http://philippe-karl.com/424/School_of_Légèreté_»/English/»_Philosophy.html.
Legerete means lightness, and as you saw above, dear Savvy is a very light horse who is probaby wishing to trade me in for a rider with lighter hands.
Day one for me was a very basic introduction to terminology and the methods of Legerete.
This included:1. Mise en Main - Education of the Hand, Jaw Yielding
The very first step here was in hand work from the ground. Standing in front of my horse, I was to lightly lift on the bit so the pressure was acting on the corners of the mouth, not the tongue or roof of the mouth. The purpose is to mobilize the mouth (horse opens their mouth, moves the tongue and therefore activates the jaw), raise the head, open the poll and shift the balance of the horse (horse steps into a more square, balanced position). This was called a Demi-Arret.
|Muriel Chestnut demonstrating Demi-Arret|
2. Flexions - Lateral Neck Flexions and Neck Extension
Following the demi-arret, the second phase was to continue this action until the horse moved into the bit, and I was to follow that movement forward and down. This is the horse 'taking your hand'. Then we started working with the reins from the side and worked more on the taking of the bit and opening the poll.
|Activating the jaw and opening the poll. The outside rein is up over Savvy's poll so Muriel is applying |
equal pressure on the bit.
|Then taking the bit and stretching down into it. (Head should be straight, though Savvy had a lot to say about it all!)|
Every exercise is first taught on the ground, then mounted at the halt, then walk, trot and canter.
|Savvy when we first started walk: behind the verticle.|
This was addressed with a demi-arret, where just like on the ground I would lift the bit on the corners of her mouth, activate the jaw and lift the head.
This not only got her head in better position, but ended up helping her relax from licking and chewing and then finally breathing a bit and listening to me.
|Using demi-arret to lift the head and open the poll, Savvy|
then maitained a more true connection further into the ride.
That was it for day one! It was a great introduction for me. Even though it doesn't sound like a lot of new information, I really was quite overwhelmed at this point. I had not thought about rein pressure in this way before--corners of the lips versus pulling back and applying tongue pressure. I suddenly felt guilty for 40 years of a riding style that may have been unnecessarily painful for my horses. A door opened in my head and I suddenly realized I could go through it and ride differently. I wasn't expecting any doors. I was a bit uncomfortable with it.
But it wasn't over there. Day two yet to come.