THE QUESTION OF THE MONTH IS BACK! (Send yours to us for an answer) The Newest:
What am I allowed to do with my hands?
BILL– I’m assuming I should confine my answer to dressage-related activities. Even so, my answer would be different if we are talking about in the show ring, best case scenarios when you’re schooling, or some of the exigencies which arise when confronted with impenetrable inherited tangles.
Let’s begin by agreeing that it is OK to use your hands. However, at all cost avoid random, habitual niggling. Anything you do with your hand must be on purpose and carry a message. And generally speaking it should be as a modifier to a primary aid which began with your seat or legs. Nor should it be used in a backward direction (other than when you are in survival mode). Non-allowing – yes. Pulling – no! Often when you think pulling is the solution, a greater push to that same non-allowing is a better choice.
Remember, your hands have some things to say, but in the context of the rest of your arms. Your elbows must remain elastic, and your forearms must be soft. “Your forearms belong to the horse!” Imagine that the reins continue through your hands and up through your hollow forearms to connect into your elbows and back. At the same time, as I wrote in DRESSAGE Unscrambled quoting Rosemary Springer, “Quiet hands are not dead hands.” An inert, non-communicating hand just allows your horse to lean on it.
Another issue is hands which stay too wide apart. I’ve been known to say, “Don’t push the wheelbarrow. Imagine you’re strangling the barn cat.” Not so much in the show ring but sometimes with a greener horse, it’s OK to open a rein but hardly ever both at once. But immediately after you use it, put it back where belongs. Don’t keep it wide.
As for those extreme cases, if I have to describe to you what to do, you probably aren’t ready to be doing. Keep in mind that your hands may need to be corrective, but try, try, try not to let them become punitive.
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BILL’s On-Line Store — STORECRAZY — is here to provide you with items that Dover and John Nunn can’t offer. Here’s a quick sample.
CLICK HERE to find many more items you won’t want to live without!
NEW EVENTING TESTS!
If you want the US Eventing Tests which go into effect December 1, 2017, they are here: http://useventing.com/resource/dressage-tests-0 . If you want the US Dressage tests which go into effect December 1, 2018. You are going to have to wait until they are finalized … in 2018.
[A Note from Bill]
Let me introduce our Associate Editor, Hayden Finch. “Sidd” worked with us back in the ’80s when Susan and I edited A Tip of the Hat, the New England Dressage Association’s newsletter. Prior to beginning his career in journalism, Sidd scratched his competitive itch with a brief foray into professional baseball. In his first stint with us, Sidd penned this alternative biographical sketch of me for the Dallas Dressage Club newsletter publicizing a clinic I did for that group:
Bill’s bio courtesy of Sidd Finch
Bill Woods (not his real name) comes to the Dallas area several times a year. He and his wife, Onyx, are members of the Federal Dressage Witness Protection Program; thus, their true place of residence is unknown. Both train and compete most of the year in central Florida, often in disguise.
Bill has been teaching in Texas since the mid ‘80s, having been brought here by Lisa Brown.They had met in New Hampshire some years before, drawn together by a mutual love of hybrid roses which they tended on summer afternoons at the institution.
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MORE HYPE ABOUT THE TROVE OF PAST BLOGS WHICH AWAIT YOU
If any of the following snippets pique your curiosity, you can find the story archived on this site. It’s DRESSAGE Unscrambled, with a twist—it’s free! More than two dozen dozen (more than 330) posts accessed by this click.
Remember Reiner Klimke and Ahlerich in the victory lap after their gold medal win at the ’84 LA Olympics? All those 76 one tempis in a row? Well, for old time’s sake, click here for the instant replay!
The Horse Protection Association of Florida needs your help!
HPAF receives no state or federal funding and exists only through donations. The amount of neglected horses and horses whose owners can no longer afford to feed them has exploded recently and your donations make it possible for HPAF to continue the work of protecting and saving horses.
“LINT IS A SHELL’S BEST FRIEND”
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Quote of the Month
“We are all time travelers — just the really dull kind — ones plodding through the 4th dimension one pathetic second at a time.”
(Robert Smith on NPR’s Talk of the Nation)
Quote of All Time
“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang onto, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.”
Click to view an important cultural icon: “Bambi Meets Godzilla”
LIFE GETTING YOU DOWN?
THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS
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An audio treat for your dining and dancing pleasure? CLICK HERE
FEAST YOUR EYES ON THIS — A FANCIFUL VIDEO MONTAGE TO LEONARD COHEN’S “DANCE ME TO THE END OF LOVE.” The tango sequence is from the 1992 film Scent of a Woman.
For the One Minute Version
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Below: To imprint in your mind. Harmony in the person of Col. Kurt Albrecht von Ziegner. His mount unknown.
Carl Sagan speaks of The Pale Blue Dot. Please click below and watch this!
It’s another Monday!
If this August’s total eclipse of the sun worked for you (or if you were indoors at the movies), there’s a second showing. The date will be April 8, 2024. Visible in the US on a swath from Texas through parts of the Midwest to Buffalo. I am not going to miss it!
TUNY, the French Bulldog, has agreed to assume BRUCE’S role as the official Safety Coordinator of this website. If, as you’re reading, she issues the “Duck and Cover” instruction, please climb under your desk and assume the position until she issues her All Clear announcement.