Monday, June 8, 2015

Suppleness in motion

What does suppleness mean to you? I once heard it defined as the state of being so balanced and at ease that you can go in any direction at any speed. The state of "being as the vending machine... When the button is pressed, the soda pops out".

In training with Kat, we're asking for a very different sort of suppleness than I've wanted before. She is often asked for states of extreme bend (sometimes just to see if she'll offer it!), and shifting transitions are used to ferret out resistance.

JM firmly sees all these elements as a cycle & that they play firmly into one another. I'm currently ignoring rhythm for a focus on relaxed connection. (And when I get it, my rhythm is there.)

Kat is being asked to take the outside rein in a supple way through bending of the neck without deviating from the path of travel. I'm using my legs to hold her shoulders up while we ask for bend and softness. And resistance we are a-ferretin. I can't wait to get an updated video of her.

I love this photo! Also, check out this horse!

I really have been riding other horses - just so much has been happening with Kat that it's taken my focus.

Also summer camp started today. I think if you were to define the opposite of suppleness, summer camp would be the answer. Totally the opposite of a lithe, sleek, athletic sensation... Instead it's herding cats in and out of the sun without discernable purpose.


  1. I do like the training pyramid but after re-reading this other training book I have I think I have a new favorite (will be posted tomorrow!) Also love the description on summercamp.

    1. Ooh I love new books! Can't wait to read about it.

  2. Ehhh I don't like overbending at all, I find that it doesn't connect a horse to the outside rein as much as it throws a horse directly through the outside rein creating a false connection because there is an increased heaviness which a lot of people mistake for connectedness. I do like the training pyramid and think it's useful, but now I'm excited for L's book review!

    I think the vending machine is more what I imagine throughness is, where every aid goes through the horse. For suppleness, I think more of it as lateral and longitudinal flexibility (which is how it is defined in the 2015 judging glossary).

    Oh my gosh summer camps, I do not envy you! They are starting at our barn soon and I don't look forward to navigating a baby around the kids. Kids are good for bombproofing though :)

  3. love the vending machine metaphor! my last dressage trainer was very fond of asking, at any random point, 'could you canter right now?' or 'could you half pass from this?' (never mind that i can't half pass from anything haha). her point was that the ability to press the button and get a soda should always be there. sounds good to me!