I have two questions, one short and one long. Short one first. I always thought that the ideal was to have a mane grow to the right, or at least braid it to the right both in H/J and dressage. However a girl who shows quite often was helping me braid the other day, and told me (very adamantly) its always on the left. Anyway, if someone would clarify it for me that would be great!
The second question is regarding my riding. Through my younger years of less-than-stellar riding education, I have developed into a “stiff” rider. I know it’s true, and I am trying very hard to learn to relax and go with the horse instead of “force” the horse to go with me. Therefore, I follow the dressage page quite often and I really have been focusing on Karen’s advice. I love the idea of learning to ride with balance, instead of pure muscle tension (my natural tendency at the moment). I have started to do a lot of no stirrup work, and while I know I have a long road ahead of me, I can already feel the difference in my seat and ability to let my arms go with the horse’s mouth. However my question lies in over fences work. My eq is far from perfect (I am schooling about 2’6″ to 3′), but I feel like it is necessary to have some tension in your legs in order to grip and stay with the horse over fences, correct? Balance is always a component, but I am just having a hard time imagining how I wouldn’t get jumped loose and end up in the dirt if I didn’t grip at least a little! Both Karen’s view and one of the Jumper judges would be awesome, and of course anyone else who wishes to have some input