This is now floating in the air above my head.
I had this moment on Saturday night while at dinner with N and her family. We were talking about riding and getting Ashke to give to pressure. I have been processing stuff in my back brain for a while and based on that conversation, finally had an aha! moment.
So, for some background - I grew up riding bareback. Like true bareback, without a pad, or handle of any kind. My mare didn't even have a mane to hold onto. When you ride bareback you count on your thighs and butt to hold you onto the horse. So, when we walked I would ride loose and relaxed on her back, not holding on to anything at all. Riding mostly by balance. My lower leg would hang loose at her sides. When I wanted her to move faster, I would tighten my legs and shift my weight forward just a bit. There was one day when I was riding with my sister on double with me, bareback on Queenie. We were talking and riding at a walk. She never held on, because she rode the same way I did, by balance and feel. I tightened my knees and Queenie burst into a canter from a walk. A few moments later I asked my sister a question and was surprised when I realized she wasn't behind me any more. I turned Queenie around and went back. My sister was sitting in the middle of the trail on her butt with her legs in front of her, laughing her ass off. Queenie had leaped out from underneath her and the first thing she knew was landing on her butt on the ground.
This method of riding is completely opposite to how we are trying to ride now. Instead of tightening pressure with my legs, I am supposed to maintain a constant level of pressure. Instead of leaning forward to initiate movement, I am supposed to lean back and keep my back straight. Instead of tightening my seat to propel movement forward, I use the tightening of my seat to indicate a stop. Instead of leaving my lower leg dangling and loose, I am to keep pressure against his sides and use the bump of my heel to get him to raise his back. You would think I wouldn't remember how to ride the way I did in childhood, but that is not the case. My body remembers and is trying to reimpose all of those methods on my aging body.
Poor Ashke. It's a miracle he isn't more confused.