An Interesting Question

I teach a middle aged man who comes for an intensive riding day every couple of weeks; he`s lovely, and you can really see him progressing. Today I was amazed to see his sitting trot without stirrups – long legs, deep seat, that Carl Hester would be proud of. But today we had a breakthrough, we started doing leg yield and in the process of the two hour morning session I got him feeling how the horses were going, correcting them himself, thinking about how to improve them, the horse`s weaknesses and strengths, etc. Even in the canter he managed to balance the canter which meant that he could really sit into it. It`s such a great feeling of achievement!

But what I like most about teaching him is that he is very methodical and logical, and often it takes a couple of explanations. Sometimes he`ll just stop mid exercise to check which leg is doing what. I find it helps me clarify my explanations and also makes me think about what I`m saying rather than just regurgitating last weeks spiel. Today I was asked this;

“Which is the correct diagonal when you`re hacking? I mean, in the school it`s obvious, but what do you use to guide you onto the diagonal?”

It`s a good one; I explained about circles and the outer foreleg travelling further forward and the inside hind coming under to take more weight, so it helps the horse to alleviate our weight when they`re doing this. I then went on to the fact the in the school we should talk about correct or incorrect diagonals (using the outside leg) and then when hacking have right and left diagonals. Ultimately it doesn`t matter which you rise on, but the horse will accommodate this and develop more muscle and become one sided therefore you are better to alternate you diagonals regularly.

He was satisfied with this answer and I know now to use the terms left, right, correct, incorrect!