I had the pleasure of riding with Cathy Morelli the first week of August. Cathy has been a World Cup participant, she has been long-listed and appeared in the Festival of Champions more than any other professional. She is still having a successful show career into her seventies and she is quite the mentor.
The main objective in all of her lessons is self-carriage through a correct connection. She suggested imagining a small punching bag directly in front of the withers. The hands should move forward and back as if gently hitting this punching bag. This can help to keep a relaxed connection at all times. If your hands are dead than the horse’s mouth is dead. Only when the horse’s jaw, pole, and neck are relaxed can the legs work to connect to the reins. These aids can only be given with a correct seat. The core and back muscles must be intact with a long leg. Through the connection of the seat and leg to the rein, I was able to give half-halts that neither stiffened my horse or slowed down her hind feet.
Through Cathy’s attention to detail, I was able to have true collection.