It has been made clear to me by no less than four of my instructors that I need to learn to ride RELAXED.
Most notably, I have been informed that my arms are “too rigid” affording “no flexion” in my elbow when using my reins. This is so apparently true that in one (particularly fun) lesson I was likened to the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, in need of a good oiling!
Add to this my tense back (causing my horse to be the same) and uptight shoulders (practically touch my ears). I am constantly being told to “shake it off” or “loosen up” or, my personal favorite, “take a breath.”
In self-defense, I have to say that I find riding relaxed somewhat of a dichotomy. I mean honestly, how can one be in a tranquil, calm or stress-free state when atop a 1200 lb hot horse barreling towards a series of fences (without the aid of pharmaceuticals)?!
So, after a recent lesson where it was articulated that my stiff arms were “working against me and my horse” for the umpteenth time, my instructor, Abby, decides that more aggressive action is in order.