There isn't usually a theme to his visits; he just works with each rider as he sees fit, but this weekend, several items seemed to crop up again and again. One was the rider's seat and pelvis, especially in the sitting trot.
Christian said two things about the sitting trot that really stuck with me. The first was this: "the sitting trot is a three-dimensional movement, not a two-dimensional movement, which is how many riders try to perform it." He explained that it is a back and forth movement that also goes up and down. I immediately pictured a red rubber ball where my pelvis is.
For several riders, he pulled over a plastic garden chair, a demonstration I've seen him do many times. He turned the chair backwards and leaned/sat on the chair's back illustrating how if the your back is hollowed your seat bones can't rotate around. When your pelvis is tucked beneath you, you can rock around on your seat bones, weighting each side independently. I don't have the problem of a hollow back. If anything, I slouch a bit and roll my shoulders in.
Which brings me to the next interesting part of the clinic. Christian nearly always uses my body like a puppeteer might to ride Speedy through me. When he's finished with you, your horse is moving brilliantly while you feel as though every muscle in your body has been stretched and pulled in ways that you didn't know it could bend.
This time however, Christian used most of my first lesson time to work on me. While this was great, the side effect was that I finished the ride feeling as though I had ridden like crap. I simply couldn't fix Speedy and myself at the same time.
Ultimately, Christian had me wrap my stirrups over the front of my saddle's pommel. From there we worked on lengthening my leg, stretching my spine, and keeping my seat bones in contact with the saddle.
In between sitting the trot, Christian had me work on canter to trot transitions. The canter work with no stirrups is easy for me, maybe it is for everyone. I am a very balanced rider, and since I already tuck my pelvis, Christian just had to remind me to keep my inside hip positioned forward. What was most challenging was the canter to trot downward transition. That was a bit rough. He reminded me to think about beginning the trot rather than ending the canter.