Guest Blog post # 82: "Horses as Mirrors" by Deanna Selioutski



After being abroad for two months, nothing felt better to me than climbing into the saddle and working Lucy. One of the many things I love about her is that you can leave her on stall rest for a week or not ride her for two months and she will be the same exact horse as when you stopped riding. She has a wonderful mind and attitude for work (now that we've established a relationship) and the biggest challenge is working through her tension.

Lucy also has a problem with balance, especially in the canter. Wait. Let's rephrase. I have a problem with balance in the canter. I talked about this in a previous post. Recently, I realized that I have a tendency to tip my hips forward instead of really sitting and driving with my seat in the transition, unless I'm really thinking about it.

I can't pinpoint exactly where this comes from. Maybe it's because I rode hunter for years, and two-point was instinctual. Maybe it's because I was nervous to ride the transition. In any case, my anticipation of a less-than-stellar transition resulted in, you guessed it, a less-than-stellar transition. And I had been doing this for YEARS! Yikes.

What clicked? I realized that my thoughts translate into my body language, which Lucy is incredible at reading and responding to. Deanna gets tense, Lucy is already tense, bad transition. A very simple equation that was very difficult for me to figure out. I finally realized my seat-tipping problem after watching a video of myself in a clinic. When I changed my riding and applied this to my work with Lucy, I was amazed. Putting my seat where it belongs didn't just have an effect on her hind end - because I was more put together overall, she transitioned from trot to canter in a frame and in a rhythm.

And then suddenly, everything fell apart. Her head was in the air, she tripped with her hind feet, and we were desperately scrambling in the trot trying to get back to canter. What?!

I checked myself. Sure enough, I was not sitting on my seatbones. I was more on my pelvis, which led me to realize: Lucy hadn't lost her balance. She was merely trying to follow my body language.

This horse has incredible try. She inspires me to become a better rider so that together we can progress in our dressage training, one lesson at a time.

Excuse me...can I go back to eating grass now? Thanks.
Celebratory grass after working so well...and teaching me a thing or two!

Blog by Deanna Selioutski at

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