Default brain settiings

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Tsavo
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Default brain settiings

Postby Tsavo » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:36 am

These are my default brain settings for my riding at the moment... I do these things 95+% of the time and without thinking:

1. SF
2. Inside to outside
3. Neutral spine
4. Stay on with balance alone - no gripping anywhere
5. Never sustain the aid
6. Seat and leg first - rein is rarely the fix.
7. Forward hand is only possible with short enough reins. Everything else (too short or too long) is backward.

What default settings do you have?

piedmontfields
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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby piedmontfields » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:19 pm

Well, from another point of view, these are things I have to remind myself of on most rides!

-Less left hand, more left leg (my old problem)
-Check availability of even contact in both reins
-Amplify reins aids with shoulder down/back--not flailing hands (keep hands in box)
-If the neck shortens, HH + quick give and big leg!
-Sit more on the thighs for rider self-carriage--not so heavy on my sitbones
-Maintain (short enough) rein for connection--don't drop the line.

On the plus side, SF, brief/specific aids, balancing without gripping, and feeling correct tempo are more automatic for me...

Tsavo
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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby Tsavo » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:07 am

Oh I have some things also that are not on default.

I am just saying that list of things is a turning point for me in terms of my body/brain helping me by bringing to attention when something ISN'T right so I can fix it right away as opposed to my body/brain being oblivious to when things weren't right and getting nowhere fast for YEARS. It is immediately obvious to me when my reins are not the correct length. That was far from obvious for years.

I think this is how people become elite riders eventually... instead of having to consciously check into a million different things to see if they are wrong, rather the body automatically registers they are wrong because it senses the horse is not right and alerts the brain so it can be fixed in a second rather than minutes to hours to days to years to decades.

The wrong things that nevertheless feel right are getting less and less in number essentially.

This is how people advance in my opinion... they have successful and quick warm ups made possible by their body not their brain monitoring the situation and not having to consciously address a million things every damn ride. An example is once you know what a correct SI feels like you don't need mirrors or to look down. Your body doesn't fire off unless something is wrong. That is not to say I ride correct SI every time. It is to say that my body and mind are quiet when it is correct. I only get an alert when something is wrong. That never used to be the case.

Focus repays the effort. And it is some effort for me. That's something I was missing.

piedmontfields
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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby piedmontfields » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:51 am

Tsavo wrote:This is how people advance in my opinion... they have successful and quick warm ups made possible by their body not their brain monitoring the situation and not having to consciously address a million things every damn ride.


This resembles what I hear from a friend who is deep into excellent training. (I am not, but am inspired by her journey.) "Why not be excellent---about everything?" It takes *tons* of focus and accountability to do that. And miraculously, all of that focus about the basics pays off into a lot of ease with the harder stuff. Her mini-lessons with me affirm just how profound that is.

Fingers crossed for your new equine friend. Hope you will share as more is known.

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musical comedy
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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby musical comedy » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:36 am

Tsavo wrote:This is how people advance in my opinion... they have successful and quick warm ups made possible by their body not their brain monitoring the situation and not having to consciously address a million things every damn ride.
I've read before where people are able to say I do this/that/whatever with this rein/leg, which means they are paying attention to what they are doing rather than it becoming automatic. Maybe it can be automatic and you can still know what you're doing, but I can't.

Because after all these decades I am finding out wrong things I do in the saddle, I have to be conscious of them constantly. Some I'll never fix because they are so ingrained. The minute my attention gets diverted to something, the bad habit comes back.

The one thing I have in my memory bank is the feel I want to have when the horse is even in both reins and connected as well as can be given the level of training. This is an area where my trainer and I disagree.

Tsavo
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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby Tsavo » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:06 pm

musical comedy wrote:
Tsavo wrote:This is how people advance in my opinion... they have successful and quick warm ups made possible by their body not their brain monitoring the situation and not having to consciously address a million things every damn ride.

I've read before where people are able to say I do this/that/whatever with this rein/leg, which means they are paying attention to what they are doing rather than it becoming automatic. Maybe it can be automatic and you can still know what you're doing, but I can't.


I agree elite riders can be or become aware of what they are doing. But one reason some people can't teach in my opinion is they don't remember how they learned something that is now completely automatic to them. And they may struggle to say exactly what they are doing because it is their body genius doing it and not their brain. It is another level to translate into words what your body knows is right and wrong. And then we have Wanless who claims that some elite riders have correct riding so on automatic and so not on the level of consciousness that they will actually deny doing things they must be doing to ride at that level. She said that about the bear down.

Because after all these decades I am finding out wrong things I do in the saddle, I have to be conscious of them constantly. Some I'll never fix because they are so ingrained. The minute my attention gets diverted to something, the bad habit comes back.


The way I attack those things is do the exaggerated opposite even if it is wrong. Do that enough and you will land in the middle correct hopefully. Something about exaggerating the opposite trains the brain to stop doing the original thing. Long standing bad habits are the bane of everyone's existence. I hate them so much that I now just go nuclear and damn the torpedoes.

The one thing I have in my memory bank is the feel I want to have when the horse is even in both reins and connected as well as can be given the level of training. This is an area where my trainer and I disagree.


What are you disagreeing about? Not sure what you mean here.

For years I have had trainers jump on my horse and get him correct in both reins and connected to the hinds and while I recognized the delicious feeling, it dissipated over the next several minutes because I didn't know how to produce it. Knowing what it feels like is about 5% of the problem. It takes years to consistently produce that in the first few minutes of the warm up. Nobody ever advanced without nailing the warm up in a fraction of the ride time. If the entire ride is needed to get the warm up elements, it is easy to see how advancement is not possible.

Dressage is the most frustrating thing I have ever encountered. The focus I needed in grad school or my post doc or my career is a fraction of what is needed for dressage. Not even close. I have never sat down and just marveled at the difficulty of ANYTHING besides dressage. I remained perplexed about this issue for years because I could not grok that something, anything, required that much focus to master. I credit learning how to have this symphonic level of focus as being probably the biggest thing I have done to change my riding other than working out to develop core, shoulder muscles, and open hip angle.

Tsavo
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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby Tsavo » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:26 pm

In a nutshell, constantly plowing old ground will not allow movement to new ground. I got so sick of plowing old ground that I just tried something, anything different. I may not succeed every time but I will die trying. I WILL die on that hill. And I will cut off everything to spite everything in getting past bottlenecks. Boy do I hate dressage. LOL

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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby blob » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:48 pm

I think it is hard to evaluate what is default at this stage, because there are so many things I do without thinking or even realizing that I do.

What I can articulate are the many things that are not default yet, that I'm reminding myself about on a daily basis, some are recent bad habits (reminding myself not to sit left when tracking right) and others are new things I am trying/working on like riding MM with legs off, which has already become more second nature and will likely soon fall into things I don't think about except for the evaluation of one horse to another, I wouldn't ride a hot, sensitive, or green horse with legs off.

I think one thing that probably separates good instructors from good riders is the ability to know and articulate all those automatic things that just happen.

Tsavo
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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby Tsavo » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:58 pm

blob wrote:I think it is hard to evaluate what is default at this stage, because there are so many things I do without thinking or even realizing that I do.


We all do things without thinking. The dressage game is to get the wrong things off default and the right things on default. I bought a 2/3 horse in 2004 and he was always a few minutes away from being at that level when my trainer got on. Yet he was years away from that level with me on.

What I can articulate are the many things that are not default yet, that I'm reminding myself about on a daily basis, some are recent bad habits (reminding myself not to sit left when tracking right) and others are new things I am trying/working on like riding MM with legs off, which has already become more second nature and will likely soon fall into things I don't think about except for the evaluation of one horse to another, I wouldn't ride a hot, sensitive, or green horse with legs off.


When your body (not your brain) prevents that sitting off to the left because you have centered riding on default, you will never have to revisit that problem again. That is my point. So much less brain activity when your body is doing things right on default.

I think one thing that probably separates good instructors from good riders is the ability to know and articulate all those automatic things that just happen.


That is the central thesis of Wanless's books.

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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby Beorn » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:47 pm

I often visualize learning based on the hierarchy of competence, in which perhaps 'default brain settings' might be similar to 'unconscious competence'?

Image

I am at different levels of the hierarchy for different parts of my riding, and there are probably things for which I will never have unconscious competence. Tsavo, I do love the list in your initial post; they're top of my target list for default settings. Fortunately they're also on my horse's list of things to check (constantly).

Tsavo
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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby Tsavo » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:43 pm

Beorn yes I agree that is the same concept I am discussing. I think the way you work up the pyramid is an unprecedented and almost unnatural level of focus. I am talking about a level that is never needed anywhere else in life. When the goal is to ride an animal that can sense minute shifts of weight and body position and breathing and even thoughts that translate to body actions too small to even register in the brain, that is off the scale from what humans needed to survive during evolution. Normal people only need a fraction of the proprioception needed for dressage. I struggled for years that anything in life could be this hard.
Last edited by Tsavo on Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tsavo
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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby Tsavo » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:56 pm

When you have a sport where even the elite players are still using mirrors to aid their proprioception, where the actual f*** does that leave us hapless clueless despondent ammy ilk???

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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby Beorn » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:01 pm

Tsavo wrote:Beorn yes I agree that is the same concept I am discussing. I think the way you work up the pyramid is an unprecedented and almost unnatural level of focus. I am talking about a level that is never needed anywhere else in life. When the goal is to ride an animal that can sense minute shifts of weight and body position and breathing and even thoughts that translate to body actions too small to even register in the brain, that is off the scale from what humans needed to survive during evolution. Normal people only need a fraction of the proprioception needed for dressage. I struggled for years that anything in life could this hard.


I first came across the concept in high-performance (race-car) driving. Fortunately, the cars don't have the autonomy of horses, but then horses also don't travel at quite the same speeds and competition doesn't rely on other riders also vying for the same position (except in warmup :lol: ).

It's hard to say how this hyper-focus and physical performance evolved. I've nearly reconciled the fact that perhaps I'm not one of those natural elite riders who have had the experience during a developmental period to hone those talents. I also don't have the time required to practice skills to move up the pyramid in a timely manner - I jokingly call my horse a late bloomer at 19, but really it's me developing true awareness when I'm riding to not get in his way. When I'm feeling positive about it, I say that I enjoy the journey. The other times I'm just thoroughly frustrated. ;)

Tsavo
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Re: Default brain settiings

Postby Tsavo » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:05 am

Beorn wrote:When I'm feeling positive about it, I say that I enjoy the journey. The other times I'm just thoroughly frustrated. ;)


I felt this way for years until I figured out how to change my frustration into focus. At this point I am determined to improve mainly out of spite. LOL


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