So training methods seem to always bring up controversy. There are many roads to Rome. I have been lucky enough to take regular lessons from a gifted, and rather unknown, trainer named Amanda Pisano. She was trained in French Classical dressage and studied under Jean-Claude Racinet, one of the classical trainers responsible for bringing French classical riding to the US. I must say that this system of training is different than anything I had experienced before. I’ve known Amanda since shortly after I moved to Indianapolis in 2002. Our meeting was by chance, but our friendship has been consistent since then.
I’ve known from the get-go with my mare — and all the OTTBs that I’ve ridden — that the “Forward! Forward! Forward!” racing around type of riding was NOT for her. She is not a big warmblood. GO is not our challenge. Slow down, LIFT and SIT are our challenges. Perhaps these are most horses’ challenges as well. I don’t know. But I knew that there had to be a better way to train these horses — something that worked with the horse’s mind. After all, horses are intelligent creatures. Its one of the reasons we are drawn to them. The idea of riding in lightness might sound foreign, but I will tell you with no uncertainty that I had no idea a horse could be so light (both in the bridle and to the aids), powerful and tuned in to my seat. No idea. AND the best part, my mare is relaxed. There tension is gone (most of the time). For anyone out there who is retraining an OTTB, doesn’t that sound appealing to you? A nice, quiet, calm, steady and LIGHT horse — yet you can feel the power. Its like driving a Porsche or riding a Ducati motorcycle. The power is there, you just have to push the right buttons to get it.
And so before I really screw up a description of “Riding In Lightness” I wanted to just share a video that I came across today. I encourage you to read every slide. Pause it if you have to. This stuff just makes sense. Enjoy.