In my response to the saddling thread I noted that I had some questions arise from my ride yesterday. Since your clinic I have been spending a lot of time on canter and things are going quite well. My little mare can now canter several 20 or 15m circles in canter, can canter down the long side in balance and I am beginning to get some nice shoulders in and traverse also both on the straight and on the circle.
It's all a result of the improvement of my riding position in canter. I now imagine I am bullfighting! She did a particularly nice shoulder in on the circle yesterday such that I really did feel like we were working around a bull!
It's an amazing feeling. My mare used to feel terribly uncomfortable to canter, rushing and falling in and out of canter and heavily on the forehand. Now she feels just about as good to canter as any horse I have ever ridden that comes with a naturally balanced, uphill canter.
She can now also pick up whichever canter lead I ask from halt, and can do simple changes every couple of strides through walk or halt... this is a huge progress from where I was with this before your clinic, so thank you!
Anyway, the question I have is that she responds very well to my weight on the outside seatbone when asking for a canter lead, but I seem to now be confusing her in other maneuvers such as lateral work as I am using that same weighting at times (without thinking) and she thinks I am asking for canter.
How should the weight in the seat bones be distributed in the other gaits, in shoulder in, travers/renvers, half pass, pirouette etc. and should the weight stay in the outside seatbone during all canter work or only when striking off?
Apparently Nuno Oliveira used to say that "when you understand the use of the inside leg in the half pass then you understand". And I think this quote answers your question about where the weight should be.....
Looking forward to hearing what Deb has to say.
What I think Nuno meant about understanding the inside leg in the half pass in similar to the story Deb tells about the Ray hunt clinic where an audience member said something like ‘when do you leave square one?” and Ray replied “you don't, you always take it with you”. The use of the inside leg in the half pass is the same as the way you use it back at square one to ask the horse to weight its outside pair of legs on the circle, it is just that now you also want it to travel in the direction of the bend. You have taken square one with you......
It's hard to get logic on my side without a little help sometimes! So, the weight in the seat bones should be to the side of the foot we want to weight... yes, of course.
I think I will need to go and do some riding and make some observations to get a feel for this and what I am currently doing with my seat bones. Will check back in after that to let you know what I come up with. :)
I know I don't tryto do anything with my seat bones (that I am conscious of anyway). I don't know who said "keep a leg either side and your mind in the middle". I have found any time I try and think about weighting my seat bones I end up stiff and my horse ends up blocked and stiff too. If I think about where my horses weight is I end up being more successful. It's like my horse weights my seat bones, not the other way round. Mind you I have only got a one rat study, me and one horse I have got to this point...so far. It will be great to hear from Deb on this because I remember her saying something about it last time we were all on the same bit of sand.
Looking forward to hearing what you come back with after your ride!