Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's a Dance

My Dad is still pretty active for 85. He takes a line dancing class on Tuesdays that we've been going to as well. Back in March he talked us into taking a ballroom dance class. Our family doesn't have natural dancing ability and personally, I'm rhythmically challenged. The dance instructor was teaching two dances, the waltz and foxtrot. We learned the basic moves over four classes. It's been about a month since we took the class. We've practiced a couple of times, but it is amazing how fast one forgets the steps and variations.

Yesterday we were working out back and I was helping Ranae work on the bend to a stop exercise. At any gait you sit, flex, put a heel in position 3, wait for Dusty to soften and yield his hindquarters, then take the leg off and wait for the flex. She was having a problem remembering all the parts and handling her reins (she needed to smack him on the butt to quicken the yielding) and that's when I realized how much this was like dancing.

During the dance class the instructor was very firm about how we kept our "frame" because as men, we were leading and the "frame" helped us signal our intentions to change direction or do a variation. The other thing we had to work on was "leading". She constantly reminded us we had to lead and she had to also constantly remind the women to "not lead". It seems that if the men didn't show definitive leadership it was common for the women to try and lead. Sound familiar?

So, that's why it can be difficult for us new to horsemanship to train. First, we have to get all the steps done. Then we have to make sure the horse gets all the steps done. Then we have to get the signals consistent enough for the horse to link them to the steps. It can be a lot to do when you think about it and it takes a lot of repetition.
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