The Stability Leg? What …is….that? Well, it is not some sort of appendage that can be attached to the horse or the rider transforming them into some sort of catamaran structure. It is, in fact, a figment of the rider’s imagination. And….it could be a metaphor for many things in life as well….more of that later. Let’s start with how it can help a rider.
If you are familiar with Lou Denizard’s concept of Riding the Mounting Block then the Stability Leg is the next step on that. If riding the mounting block was the 101 level course, the stability leg is the 201 level. If you are not familiar with the mounting block as a learning tool, then I will leave a link below for you.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When you are seated on the mounting block and move, so the back of the block comes up off the ground, there is the moment when you are at the farthest you can go without your knees complaining. That is the moment that replicates the downward phase of the horse’s movement. We all know that best from the canter. There is the moment when the horse is on the front legs and often the head and neck are bobbing down and taking us with them. What to do? This is the moment for the stability leg. Here is a photo of Nancy Kleiner demonstrating the moment when we need to release our legs and go forward with the horse but not downward! Nancy is still upright and straight.
What can help us to allow us to move farther forward, and with the horse, but not downward? Putting one leg out in front to stabilize our movement. Here is Nancy with her stability leg forward.
Now….here is the part which involves the rider’s imagination. When you are on the horse you cannot put a leg down on the ground to stabilize your position. But you visualize that leg going out to stabilize you. How does that work?
RIDING WITH THE STABILITY LEG.
When I am riding on a 20 meter circle I tend to put more weight on my inside seatbone. Going to the right this would be my right seatbone. This results in Biasini falling in to the center of the circle as he is trying to balance my weight on top of him. Falling in is not what I am trying to achieve.
How can the Stability leg help me? If I visualize the stability leg out in front of me and my foot on the ground then my weight automatically becomes more evenly distributed between left and right. Does it matter which leg I visualize? It can be either leg. When you try it …..experiment ! Try the left and then the right. Which side do things go better with? You might be surprised by this. I was. I thought that going to the right I would need to put my right stability leg forward but I found that for me it all went better if I visualized the left leg forward and on the ground.
When you are trying the stability leg exercises go back and forth from right to left and see which one works best depending on what you are doing. This will vary from one movement to the next and possibly from one day to the next.
I have found this stability leg to be remarkably effective. So give it a try.
THE STABILITY LEG AS A METAPHOR IN LIFE.
Let’s face it there are times in all of our lives when life hands us some lemons. Whack! They hit us out of nowhere. It can be in work, relationships, health, finances, pretty much any aspect of our lives. What do we need at those moments? A mental stability leg. We have to take a breath, try to remain calm, look for solutions, ask for help and support from family, friends or our faith. We need a stability leg. When we find it we don’t fall down, we don’t fall flat. We can hang on and pick up to fight another day.
That’s it for today Dear Readers. Enjoy your weekend!
Here is the link to the original Riding the Mounting Block post.