Stability versus mobility

In the A Session of the Program, Sandy Howard told us that a stable object is less mobile – think a sumo wrestler on hands/knees – and a less stable object is more mobile – think of a gymnastic on the balance beam.

NERD WARNING: You are about to be exposed to another one of my dressage nerd rants!

So, due to the snow storms, I have been driving my long bed/crew cab truck around. The monster has gotten me through some pretty bad conditions and the 4wd is essential with the roads looking the way they do.

Cut to Saturday night when my boyfriend took me out for an early Valentine’s dinner and offered to drive 🙂 As we arrived at the parking lot in his Toyota Corolla, I sort of braced myself for the tight turns around the lot. My brain had adjusted itself to the truck’s handling and I was briefly surprised at how easily his Toyota made the turns.

So there, in the parking lot… with my non-horsey boyfriend… on our Valentine’s day date, I blurted out: “Less stability means more mobility! Your car is like a good upper level horse!”

I think he just ignored my comments when he realized that I was talking about horses again. Perhaps he thought I was complimenting his car in some way. At this point, however, I am now fascinated with the “collection” of the smaller cars versus my truck. Their tires are closer together, like the legs of a more collected horse. While my truck takes a whole acre to turn, my Mini Cooper can zip around turns in an instant.

Though I understood it before (more stability means less mobility in dressage), this analogy seems to explain several things quite well:

As you go into the upper levels, any horse with power can possibly get through the straight lines of the test – extensions, center lines, etc. However, only a truly collected horse can get through the lateral portions of the test correctly.

Some horses are built more like my Mini Cooper and others like my truck. That is not to say that you can’t rebuild the truck/horse with less mobility by bringing the wheels/legs closer together. It just takes more time and work.






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