Wow I can't believe it's already week 4!!
Hopefully you have been having fun with the canter pole exercise. I used canter poles last week myself and they were, as usual, very beneficial to my canter work.
This week we are going to focus on YOU the rider.
This exercise allows you to have a more independent and effective seat even when you're busy focusing on other stuff while riding.
Warning: this exercise seems easier than it actually is! Make sure you dedicate the prescribed amount of time to this exercise often. If you do you will see results!
To begin take your feet out of your stirrups and allow your legs to hang down long against your horse's sides. Walking on a loose rein (free walk) focus on your lower back/lumbar sacrum area. For a full FIVE MINUTES breathe very deeply directing your breath to this area. Imagine inflating your lower back as if to push against a hand sitting there. Maintain the same feeling of fullness as you exhale.
Practice this exercise only at a walk and do it frequently for the full FIVE MINUETS. Stay focused and keep concentrating on your breathing.
I was taught that the very best way to begin every ride (to the greatest extent possible) is to allow the horse to walk freely on the buckle. By doing this you allow the horse to loosen his muscles gently while also preserving the horse's 4 beat walk. Often when the rider over-rides the walk the purity of the gate is lost and the walk becomes lateral. Again, the best way to guard against creating a lateral walk is to allow the horse to walk freely, every ride, coincidentally for FIVE MINUTES. What a perfect opportunity to work on your seat!
Happy riding! - Erin