I just finished reading Anatomy of Dressage by Heinrich and Volker Schusdziarra and thought I should share what I thought about it. First, let me say that while the book is transformative, it is not an easy read. Both of the authors are medical doctors, and while they tried to break down the anatomy for us laypeople, it is still difficult to understand and I had to reread numerous passages. However, if you ever wondered how to do a half-halt, this book will explain it.
Riding texts often tell you to “brace your back” when performing a half-halt. But, as this book clarified, it is impossible to do that given our anatomy. Instead we use specific abdominal muscles to get the desired effect. Another interesting concept that was both elementary and revolutionary at the same time was that our pelvis is rigid. When we push our right hip forward, the left hip must go back; we can also tip our pelvis forward or backwards, but not both at the same time. It gives riding off our seat bones a whole new meaning.
This is one book I don’t plan on lending out because I want to be able to go back to it again and again as I try to refine my aids. Wait, what do I have to do to turn left?!