Control less. Create More!Eddo Hoekstra
This is a wonderful quote from coach and trainer Eddo Hoekstra. My daughter took lessons with Eddo and he encouraged me to get back to riding after 30 years away from horses. Eddo’s discipline is dressage and so began my dressage journey.
I have always understood the words of the quote. You need to create more when riding your horse and not be so concerned about controlling your horse. Easy to understand the words but what it really meant did not dawn on me till years later. Riders, myself included, are concerned with controlling the horse so as to not be run away with , or bucked off or some other unwanted behavior from the horse that must be stopped. Controlled!! Creating more means more impulsion, more forward movement, more energy, more sparkle, more brilliance ….the list goes on. So for me the control part was easy and the create part not so much.
So what was my light bulb moment? I came to a point where I had confidence that my horse, Biasini would not bolt or buck or dump me in the dirt. Then I realized that it was not all about controlling him and more about creating the opening for him to show what he could do. But I still found it very difficult. Where was the balance between controlling Biasini who is a very strong horse and likes to take over and letting go in order to create more of the things that are so prized in dressage?
It has taken me at least two years to get a handle on it and start to execute it. My coach Belinda Trussell has been working with me for the past few months to adopt a new set of expectations. I must not settle for Biasini’s pulling and bullying. But a change in expectations means both of us have to adjust and implement new standards on a second by second basis.
Last week in one of my lessons we worked on the canter half pass. In this lesson I found that all the work we have been doing was paying off. The half pass was so much easier. I was able to ride with a lighter contact and to ask him to move sideways without loosing that nice light contact.
Was I creating more? I think so. Having him light and responding to my aids was a real joy. Here is a short video clip of the half pass left.
There is much more to achieve with this controlling less and creating more. I have only just begun on this part of the journey.