As a trainer I don’t believe you can teach “feel” however as a rider a do believe you can develop it!
How? – here’s an example of how I have tapped into my “feel” to improve both my position and delivery of aids, which leads to a happier and easier ride on my lovely little Orange.
I’ve been having a bit of trouble since I purchased Mr Orange with the trot transition, It’s been for various different reasons along the way of our journey this past 7 months. It was highlighted in our lesson with Dane last week with huge rears, I though it time to give this seemingly small issue my full attention and really knuckle down to find a way to tackle it.
So in true Chelsea fashion I looked at how I was asking with “feel” rather than "think",
I was doing nothing wrong or out of the norm, perhaps its him being naughty, disobedient, cheeky etc etc which would have been most riders first interpretation of our problem, admit it :)
So.... how was I asking? Could I ask in a different way to make him happier in the transition, could I be clearer in any way? Is he misunderstanding my aids because I am delivering them to him in any way that may be unclear??
Well let’s jump on and find out???
Before getting on I stripped it all back, I took my lovely thick leather Ariat gaiters off and just had my jods in between me and Mr Oranges sides, this was to increase my “feel” of where my legs were connecting with him and how firmly.
I also took my spurs off, I recently with my poorliness and on advice from Lindsey, one of my trainers began to ride in spurs to make life easier for us both while training.
Then it was the worst part of all, I took my gloves off – the height of winter this is not ideal but I wanted to “feel” everything I possibly could.
Once on I began putting all of my though into my delivery of aids and his responses it wasn’t long before I realised when he was lacking in forwardness and I needing more leg, I stopped using my calf and began using my leg further down more my heals, I also found I was moving my leg further back – no wonder Mr Orange was objecting/getting confused.
These small changes to my kit and focusing on our communication simply provided the answers I was looking for.
Now this isn’t an easy fix, like most habits they had crept in without my knowledge but if I can focus on retraining my legs it will provide him with the correct aid and hopefully a beautiful transition to trot!