Riding a Table.

Riding a horse is not the same as riding a motorcycle.  This is something that my Florida coach Lou Denizard is always reminding me. “No motorcycling!” When he says that I know I have just ridden a bad corner or circle. Let me explain.

The horse had four legs just like a table.

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When you go round a corner you want to remember those four legs, like the ‘rider’ on the left and not be thinking you are on two wheels like the ‘biker’ on the right!

If I am on a table, going round a corner or on a circle. then I will remain upright and not be leaning to the inside of the circle or corner, I will have my weight evenly distributed on both of my seat bones, not just on the one that is on the inside. And most importantly my horse can maintain spinal integrity.

Spinal integrity? What is that?

Yes. That is another ‘Lou-ism’. If you picture the horse’s spine, which goes from the neck to the tail and you think about keeping that spine from having any broken lines, then you will have the concept. For example, if you bend just the horse’s neck to one side, then the line is broken because the spine in the rest of the horse’s body is still straight. The horse has lost spinal integrity.  I like to imagine the spine is like a slinky toy and the whole thing bends with space increasing on the side away from the direction of bend and contracting on the inside of the bend. Take a look at this diagram and imagine how it would look if the horse was bending to the right on a circle. Not just neck bending but  the whole body on the line of the circle. That is maintaining spinal integrity.

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Now back to riding the table. Maintaining the table balance is important.  We don’t want the table to dip down in front or everything that is on the table would slide off.  We want the table to be balanced nicely between all four legs.

Ok, yes….. in a movement like a pirouette, the front of the table is coming up as the front legs leave the ground. But…when the horse brings those legs back down before taking the next step then the table must be balanced again. helgstrand-1491

The flying  change?

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Even in mid change, as in this photo, there is still the balance.

I know that if I remember that I am riding a table many movements are improved: the circle, the corners, the pirouettes , the flying changes and the straight lines as well.

Try the mental image of the table and see if it helps you. Do leave me a comment below to let me know how you get on with ‘riding’ the table.

34 Comments Add yours

  1. docummins says:

    Like I said before, you’re one with the horse and I feel as though we are taking up a very small area of space; therefore, not bending the horse’s back!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tonia says:

    This is so helpful!! I never “think” I am motorcycling, but then when I see pictures of myself riding I am like, “Ugh why am I leaning??” 😛 I think I am subconsciously trying to “help” the horse with the turn, but of course, I am doing the exact opposite…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      HaHa! Yes I do it too. Try the table and see if it will help.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff Rab says:

    Love the science behind the simple beauty of it all!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      In dressage we are always striving to achieve the simple beauty but there is a lot going on to achieve it. Thanks so much for commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. wow, riding a table, it is funny…:))
    clever approach tho, because animal is not a motorcycle, true…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Just saw this. for some reason three of your comments went into Spam! But thank you for this one!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m going to have this image the next time I ride! I’m excited to see how it helps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I have found it very useful. I hope you will too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful class ma’am. While reading I can imagine myself how to ride on the table.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Subbashini! I hope that perhaps you will have the chance to ride a horse as well! 🙂

      Like

      1. Wow, I will feel wonderful if I get a chance.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. shiarrael says:

    Such an excellent bit of advice, and so difficult to put into practice (at least for me) 😛

    I’m thoroughly guilty of ‘motorcycling’, especially when I get caught up in the flow. Then it only takes something unexpected (a startled little buck for example) and my balance is off. In my defense, my red ‘table’ is a lively one 😉

    Marvelous pictures again (oh that flying change… poetry!), and that spinal integrity image helps a lot! I’m tempted to print it and duck-tape it onto my sleeve tomorrow. see how it goes…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Well I have a redhead as well and for those moments of sideways movement ( spooks!) It is good to have that balance. I hope this post will help you. Thanks for your wonderful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. doar nicole says:

    Again, another very interesting post, details and explanations. But of course, my favorite must be… the flying change. Lovely midair photo! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. the photo just caught the right moment to show the balance of the horse’s body.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Cathy Gage says:

    Lou and Nancy have stressed this so much and I find it’s becoming my “go to” thought when things aren’t right. Corners, lateral work, and just plain going down the rail I think of this all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Excellent. Thanks for letting me know. I appreciate the feedback Cathy!

      Like

  10. This is so true and sometimes very hard to remember. I’ve been really trying to monitor myself for this lately, and my turns are much better when I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m glad you also find this concept helpful. Thanks for taking time to comment.

      Like

  11. sandyjwhite says:

    I had never given much thought to the challenges of riding a table, but this makes good sense, Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Sandy. I’m glad it makes some sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. sandyjwhite says:

        You know you have done a good job of explaining when non riders understand!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Yes and i appreciate hearing that very much. Thanks!

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Avery says:

    Another good one from Lou!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      He’s full of “outside of the box” visuals to help riders.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Alan Stenson says:

    I’m guilty of this too! Doesn’t help that I love bikes as much as horses 😆!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Oh,,well you have got a tougher one there . I think one advantage is that horses stay more upright than bikes do. Thanks for commenting i like hearing about everyone’s thoughts on this.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This is so interesting. I actually feel like I know about riding when I read your posts. 🙂 xxx

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for this comment! I’m glad i was able to make it clear and I appreciate the feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

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