I was considering recently some of the odd and funny things we say and hear around the barn. Because of my slightly different teaching style, heavily influenced by my Centered Riding background, over the course of lessons we have developed a bunch of little phrases that help recall how a certain maneuver is supposed to feel. Some of the things said over the last week include:
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Funny Things Heard in Lessons
"Point your belly button over the rainbow!"
This is in reference to getting a horse to turn towards a rainbow colored jump, accomplished by swiveling one's hips so that the belly button aims for the fence. This has the effect of getting the horse to turn using his hind end, so the turn is more balanced.
"Turn left at the mattress"
I have a mattress from a futon in my arena. We use it for desensitizing horses to walking on different types of surfaces, and this one is great because it is full of foam, not springs. That way if a horse's hoof were to tear it, there's no danger from metal. When not in use, I have it leaned up against the side of the wall, but it's a handy visual for where to turn when jumping courses or working through patterns.
"Roll your center down and back"
This is a phrase that helps riders shift their weight so that their center of gravity drops lower in their body. It comes from imagining a ball of sorts sitting in the bowl of your pelvis, and rolling the ball backwards and dropping it lower results in the rider shifting the pelvis towards a posterior pelvic tilt, which then causes the horse to shift weight to his haunches. It's a quick easy way to half-halt (more on that later).
"Go over blue towards the llamas"
My jumps are color-coded to make it easier to give directions when jumping multiple fences, and my next door neighbor to the south has a large herd of llamas. It's handy to give riders directions in reference to them because everyone immediately knows which way is towards the llamas.
"Make your fruit bigger!"
This is in reference to the Fruity Centers riding lesson I teach frequently. This idea helps riders to change the tone in their core, without creating tension. It comes from the idea that the ball in the bowl of your pelvis is a piece of fruit. What size would you say it is when you first start riding? Apple? Peach? Grapefruit? As you ride, play with changing the size of your fruit. What happens when you shrink it down to grape size? What about blueberry? Or grow it until it's watermelon sized? It's a fun exercise, and shows you how little you need to do with arms and legs to influence a horse's speed and quality of gaits.
"Head towards the iceberg"
A friend of mine had a GIANT block of styrofoam blow into her pasture last winter, and she brought it to me to use as a puissance wall. I haven't gotten around to cutting it into blocks yet, so for now it sits in the corner of the indoor arena and everyone refers to it as The Iceberg.
What other funny things have you heard around the barn?