2003 USDF National Symposium Tour With Lisa Wilcox and Ernst Hoyos at Stargate Sportt Horses

By Charlene Strickland for DressageDaily.com

A Study of the Trainer's Seat - How the Correct Technique of the Seat Influences the Horse's Development Through the Levels

In this year's National Symposium, Lisa Wilcox and her trainer Ernst Hoyos demonstrated how the classical tenets persist in their daily work. The rider influences the horse through a correct seat, practicing the principles of dressage at every stride.

Hoyos and Wilcox worked three horses, and then instructed three riders each day of the Symposium. On each of the six horses, they addressed how the rider can develop the horse's aptitude. This Symposium Tour features highlights of their instruction.

Wilcox translated for Hoyos throughout the sessions. “Each horse has his weaknesses,” she said. “We focus on their weaknesses in the beginning.”

To bring the first stallion off his forehand, Wilcox explained, “It is important that I keep his poll at a relatively higher point, and keep his hind end underneath him.” At the trot, she rode in a normal tempo maintaining the balance before asking the horse to increase the rhythm of his hind legs.

Her goal was to improve the horse's balance under saddle. Alois Podhajsky, legendary director of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna , wrote in The Complete Training of Horse and Rider , “The object of training will be to correct the balance by making the hindquarters carry a greater proportion of the weight.”