Thursday, July 29, 2010


I'm currently trying to finish one of my holiday reads, Moshe Feldenkrais' 'Awareness through Movement'. I'd like to say go out and buy it but it's truly quite hard work, not the content but the dry feel to the writing means I have to re-read pages again and again.
The book is, however, littered with some wonderful life observations and there are quotes in abundance. I was worried that being forty years old the contents could be a little out-moded but nothing could be further from the truth.
Something I've become increasingly aware of in the last couple of years is that I'm not happy to follow tradition any more and this has led me to question many things in my equestrian world. Feldenkrais talks of the strata of developement that occurs within an activity and this could just as easily apply to riding as any other activity.
The first stage is the natural way, in riding this would be kids hopping abord bareback grasping some mane and just letting it happen.

The next phase is individual developement where we improve our technique from just hanging on and being a passenger to actually getting a sense of what to expect and developing our feel for an activity.

The third stage is the setting down in stone of a professional method, so now we feel the need to conform to the ear/hip/heel alignment, the two point seat etc BECAUSE someone 'professional' tells us this is correct (I'm not suggesting these are not correct just using them as illustrations).

Even forty years ago Feldenkrais believed that the creation of the third stage (professional) of an activity was not particularly advantageous because it actually puts people off trying to progress past the second or even first stage. I guess Feldenkrais put into words, such a long time ago, something that has been dawning on me for a while now....equestrians are no longer encouraged to have any natural feel and if they do it's often knocked out of them by the professional system.

On to more mundane thoughts; both boys worked today, Moo was ridden bareback for 45 minutes after some in-hand warm up. What a star that horse is :-) and he is teaching me to improve my stage two personal developement very nicely. So many things become obvious when working without a saddle and the lateral work was just a revelation.
Chapiro worked hard on the lunge and this is something he needs to do more of, he moves shoulders and quarters at the pointing of the whip and so it's relatively easy to rebalance him when needed. Lots of canter trannies and then some pole work to finish, pretty good session.
Off to bathe my aching muscles (you try riding Moo bareback for that long).


Kate said...

Feel is the important thing - all the technique in the world, although helpful, doesn't come close to replacing feel and attention.

Danni said...

Great to catch up on how you've been getting on. Hope you aren't too achey tomorrow!

Di said...

You are intrepid riding Moo bareback!
Technique, feel, not sure I've got either of those!!

trudi said...

Di you are norty, you have.
Absolutely Kate and getting the balance right makes all the difference.