Feel is often a mystical conception among dressage riders. Everybody has a different interpretation and preference. Since my feeling has come a very long way over the past 6 months I decided it was time to write about it.
I remember watching Anky’s half pas on Krack C and it almost appeared as though she didnt have any leg on her horse at all as he gallantly reached across stretching both legs to the max. Well I can say that I get it now.
When Welmingh arrived back from training he was so heavy in the hand that I could not even ride him in the snaffle. today I ride with mere ounces of contact in my reins. In order to do that, I have had to make Welmingh more accountable to my legs. He now responds to the leg with mere ounces of pressure as well. I am really enjoying the lightness of this ride. It enables me to carry my hands lower and for my aids to be completely effective and unnoticeable. The second he starts to get heavy again my hands rise up in order to balance the contact so its an indication that something is going on behind.
He is quieter in his mouth than he has ever been. I would imagine with limited pressure on the reins he is far more comfortable in his contact. The most amazing part of all of it is that he is carrying himself in true self carriage he is lifting from the shoulder when I apply a bit of leg, instead of burrowing into the contact. It is very much like night and day to ride. And quite exciting as he starts to develop a true extended trot for the first time.
I know that when I learned to ride dressage I was often told that I needed a heavier contact and the rule of thumb was 3 to 5 lbs. Today I am throwing out the rule book and riding my horse with lightness, feel and connection. And I LOVE it!