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Within riding exists a fundamental conflict of interest: The rider needs to have controlher confidence depends on her ability to control the balance of her own body as well as that of her very powerful horse. The horse, by nature, needs to feel freefree in both mind and body to express himself through movement.
In When Two Spines Align, author Beth Baumert, writer and editor at the equestrian magazine Dressage Today, resolves the freedom-control enigma by taking a close look at the individual components that make up riding and dressage and providing practical ways riders can learn to harness the balance, energies, and forces at play. Readers will discover how to use positive tension” and their body’s power lines” to become balanced and effective in the saddle. They will then find ways to understand and manage the horse's balance and coordination challenges.” Ultimately, the rider learns to regulate and monitor the horse's rhythm, energy, flexion, alignment, bend, and line of travel by properly aligning her spine with his. When the center of gravity of a balanced rider is over the center of gravity of a balanced horse, that place where two spines align becomes the hub for rider and horse harmony.
Beth Baumert operates Cloverlea Dressage LLC in Columbia, CT where she trains horses and riders from Training Level through Grand Prix. She and her husband Alan have owned the farm for 37 years. The farm has been a dressage training facility for most of those years. In the early years, Beth was devoted to riding jumpers until she happened upon a dressage show and first witnessed a line of three-tempi changes. Cloverlea Dressage has had a strong young rider program over the years, and Beth has served as the chair of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Junior/Young Rider Program.
Beth's primary interest has always been education. She is a USDF Certified Instructor through Fourth Level and an L” graduate with distinction of the USDF judging program. For many years, she produced videos of the Aachen Dressage Show and other instructional videos so American dressage riders could aspire to the European standard.
Beth was the initial editor for Dressage Today magazine and continues to serve as technical editor. In this capacity, she is in constant contact with the best dressage riders in the world as they write about the technical aspects of dressage.
Table of Contents
Introduction--The Freedom-Control Enigma
Part One--How Riders Work Chapter 1--The Seat: The Place Where Two Spines Meet Chapter 2--An Introduction to Positive Tension and Powerlines The Easy Way to be Strong Chapter 3--Your Vertical Powerline The Power to GO Chapter 4--Your Connecting Powerline The Suppleness to STOP Chapter 5--Your Spiraling Powerline The Flexibility to TURN Chapter 6--Your Visual Powerline Connecting to the Outside World Chapter 7--Clear Aids for Communicating Aids Ask Three Questions
Part Two--How Horses Work Chapter 8--The Horse's Balance Issues Understanding them Leads to Resolution Chapter 9--How the Horse's Weight Distribution Changes Improve the Balance by Suppling and Strengthening Chapter 10--Impulsion and Engagement Timing the Aids to Maximize Freedom Chapter 11--Leverage for Collection A Law of Nature to Help Chapter 12--Transitions Connecting and Collecting your Horse Chapter 13--Half Halts Connecting and Collecting your Horse
Part Three--How Two Spines Meet in Balance Chapter 14--Rhythm--Speaking your Horse's Language Chapter 15--Energy--Finding the Right Amount of Power for the Balance Chapter 16--Flexion of the Poll--The Key to a Supple Back Chapter 17--Spinal Alignment--The Key to Straightness Chapter 18--The Bend--Bend Control is Horse Control Chapter 19Height of the Neck--Throughness by Nature Chapter 20--The Length of Stride--The Key to Elasticity Chapter 21The Line of Travel--The Key to Perfect Balance Chapter 22Figures and Movements--Building an Athlete