2003 USDF National Symposium Tour With

Such attentive horsemanship demands diligence, and patience. “I'm not about to let his unbalanced canter take balance out of my seat,” said Wilcox. When this horse resisted and tried to evade the aids, she counseled, “You stay quiet and don't get upset.”

Riding from the seat guides the horse toward a consistent connection. The rider's weight to the inside stirrup while maintaining the outside rein teach the horse the lateral bend.

A deep, driving seat encourages the horse to move forward . The rider's inside leg is quiet, and the outside leg active in the rhythm of the canter. “I ask for more activity with the outside leg while stepping into my inside stirrup with a quiet leg,” said Wilcox.

“The most important part of your seat is the seat,” she said. “Your hand is there to support the seat.”

With all horses, attention to technique keeps the horse sensitive. The rider's seat develops the connection with the poll. “The higher the poll comes, the more underneath themselves they are able to step. Then the more expresssive the forehand is allowed to be,” said Wilcox.

The rider asks for the bend with the seat, stepping into the inside stirrup and sitting deeply in the center of the saddle without falling forward. About the rein, Wilcox explained, “The lateral bend is two-thirds of contact on the outside rein, and one-third inside rein.”

On this stallion, she showed how to instill a correct canter transition in the horse's mind. “Teach the young horse the correctness now—or problems will haunt them the rest of their career,” said Wilcox. She asked for the transition twice before the horse struck off correctly the third time. “The first canter jump should be from the hind end.”