I believe most of us equestrians know the feeling of struggling to do something our trainer tells us. You may feel like his or her instructions are not precisely clear, or the task he or she has given you is impossible to fulfill. But when you watch a video of your session afterward, you tell yourself: "Oh my god, it looks so easy," or "Oh, it does look different than from the saddle point of view!".
Does this ring a bell? It does to me. When you look at my horse and me, our movements look quite equal. But with a careful eye, you can distinguish his left-hand canter to be slightly different from the right-hand one. Just as people, the horses have one hand they are more comfortable with. You can understand it as left-handedness and right-handedness amongst humans.
If my horse was a human, he would be right-handed. Moreover, his pelvis is in an unusual position, probably due to an accident he had as a foal, which makes his left-handed motion a stumper. He carries himself with more difficulties, and I am not able to sit in his left-handed canter quite as calmly and comfortably as in the right-handed one. And because I also unconsciously favor right-handed motion, we very easily slip to right-handed gaits for most of the session. As the left-handed canter especially is less comfortable for me, I tend to try to get over with it as quickly as possible and return to the suitable movement.
When I first started using EQUIMO, my main focus was on even spreading of left- and right-handed gaits during the time I spent riding. I had not realized that even if I try to stay on the left hand, at the end of the day, my training analysis shows more right-handed movements. This is where EQUIMO has been an enormous help. I am now able to adjust the compounds of our sessions to be more balanced.
What surprised me was a thorough analysis of our hack. Never before had I realized that my gelding usually chooses right-handed canter as it is more comfortable for him. Thanks to EQUIMO, I keep our hacks in balance. I look at my statistics a few times during the time out, and thanks to it, I can eventually adjust the gaits, and our hacks have become much more even. I have even started to think about hacks on a whole new level, and when I plan one, I always think about how the fields are shaped, so we avoid one-handed movements.
Focus on balance allows me to help my horse improve his left-handed movements and what is more important, his muscles can grow and evolve evenly. In a long-term view, this is what my horse really needs to get fully ready for competitions.
The little things that matter might be simple. But at the end of the day, these little things make the most significant difference, especially for a showjumper.