2003 USDF National Symposium Tour With Lisa Wilcox and Ernst Hoyos

The Body Should Absord Movement

The third stallion presented a different balance problem—too high in the neck with a hollow back causing the horse to be “out” behind. To ride this horse in balance, Hoyos instructed Wilcox, “More elastic in the topline.”

Her seat was crucial in establishing a careful connection. At a rising trot, not sitting heavily, Wilcox rode in rhythm with the gait. She trotted circles and serpentines, looking for the frequent changes of direction to relax the horse's tension and to connect him to the reins.

“Slowly I can ask for more bend,” she explained. “I'm trying to get the bend more with my weight than with my hand.” With this sensitive horse, Hoyos instructed Wilcox in softening the ring finger on the rein.

The light connection reduces the horse's resistance, and allows the rider to ask the horse slowly to move more forward. “The correction is with a forward tendency,” she explained. “I send him forward in a correction, and I do not pull back. I keep my hand positioned in the front of the saddle.”

In the canter, she described her seat on this horse as passive. “My body should not be cantering. My body should absorb movement, not create movement.” Wilcox added that if the rider starts gripping or fighting with the seat, the horse tends to “block” the aids even more.