When is a Zipper not a Zipper?

When is a zipper not a zipper? When it’s a training aid for the dressage rider!  And where did I learn this?  From my Florida coach Lou Denizard! If you follow this blog you will have already learned that Lou is always coming up with “outside of the box” training ideas.  So here is the zipper.

We have had some quite cool weather in Florida this winter and I have been able to wear a nice fleece lined vest that fastens in front with a white zipper. Lou caught on to the white zipper the first time I wore the vest. In dressage arenas there are always mirrors at one end of the arena so you can see yourself and your horse as you ride toward the mirrors.

“Look at your white zipper,” Lou said. ” You have to keep that zipper straight!” I was surprised to find how often my zipper would be off to the right or to the left a bit or not quite straight. When I did keep it straight everything went much better.  Here are some photos with the positions a bit exaggerated to give you the idea.

Whoops! My left hip is collapsed.
zipper-0914374

Now my right hip is collapsed!zipper-0914595Here I am twisting my torso.zipper-0915029But here I am straight and the zipper confirms that!zipper-0914095You don’t have a garment with a white zipper? No worries. I think some white tape could serve as well. Once you have the visual you can keep it in your mind and even without the white zipper or tape you will look at yourself as you ride and know if you are ‘off ‘.  Soon it will become ingrained in your ‘feel’ as you ride.

 

 

Good luck and if you to try it let me know how it goes.

*Special thanks to my horse Biasini for being a patient model in these photos.*

 

22 Comments Add yours

  1. Avery says:

    Oh this is great! Such a good visual. I used to do yoga, and should do it now, but they had some visuals like that. I always tell the kids when they are riding to keep their belly button in the middle with the saddle horn. They always seem to laugh because they can then tell that they are not in the middle and can actually feel that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      That’s a great visual for a Western saddle. Thanks for sharing that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Increased difficulty when the horse pushes you off skelter… A forever struggle with sraightness for us! 🤡😂
    I like the zipper idea!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m going to remember that! Even though our arena doesn’t have mirrors if I ever give my nieces lessons on my horse in the future I’ll remember this! Even simply having that image in your mind of “Keep the zipper straight” would probably work too! 😀 And Biasini seems like an incredible guy! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      He is a wonderful horse, cheeky at times, but basically a wonderful fellow!❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Even I thought your last line ma’am. How selfless and kind these creatures are to humans.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Haha!
    Your horse surely deserves a thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      He does! He is very patient!

      Like

  6. Great coaches can determine individual cues to find the most efficient method of training! He obviously has found this one! Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Lou is a very resourceful coach. He spent several years as the head of the riding program at Johnson and Wales university. He taught hundreds of riders in different disciplines and he has a big tool box full of ideas to help riders. You are so right with your comment. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great article! This a great visual aid for helping riders fix themselves, the ‘zipper’ never lies 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Exactly. It is a small thing but I am very impressed in how much of a difference it has made for me. Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Alli Farkas says:

    Next project: acquire more mirrors on the walls!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yikes! That could be revealing. Here in Florida the covered arenas are open at the sides so they just have one “wall” in mirrors. At home they have a mirror on the side as well. Thanks for commenting Alli!

      Like

  9. Jeff Rab says:

    Very interesting!!! The difference between good and great is a sum of all the little things most people don’t notice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are so right Jeff. In dressage especially it is all about tiny adjustments. Thanks for this very quotable comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks for the reblog! I think this idea is something that could translate to other sports such as cycling, skating etc.

      Like

  10. Emma Cownie says:

    It’s easier standing straight when you have 4 legs, like Biasini!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it is but you would be surprised at how crooked horses can get in their bodies. On the plus side I could say how well they can “bend” in their bodies. Thanks Emma for commenting.

      Like

  11. Great post. 🙂 Biasini is being such a patient model and looking as handsome as ever. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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