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.
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.
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.
The flying change?
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.
I’d love to hear from you!