Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Riding Lessons

Normally, I take a group riding lesson at Columbia Horse Center. Actually, for a while there, I was taking two lessons a week: one that I was paying for, and another working student lesson. Fun times.

Now that the renaissance festival has started and I'm working there on the weekends, I don't have time to fit the working student lesson in, so I'm back down to one lesson a week. It's kind of weird because sometimes I feel like we aren't progressing as quickly as I'd like and other times I feel like I'm glad we're working so much on the things we are because I know I need to work on them. Like making sure my legs don't go out in front of me or that I can actually stand up in the stirrups and balance while trotting or my two-point is good and things.

I think part of the former is because I am in a group lesson with other adults, most of whom are somewhat older than I am. And also because of the whole two-lessons a week there. I was getting more time in the saddle to work out some things that seem to still be bothering the others. So now I feel like I'm a little ahead of everybody (which may or may not be true, but the others also seem to think so, from what they've said to me in unsolicited comments). Which is funny, because when I first joined the class, I was a little behind them. Of course, I also used to take lessons as a kid and most of these guys didn't. So there's things that I 'get' at least as far as intellectually, even if I haven't quite figured out how to get my body to do it properly where the others may never have heard of it and have to figure out both. If that makes sense.

Sometimes I think it might be a good plan to go into private lessons for a while excep for two things:

a) I can't really afford them.
b) I feel like, with private lessons, there should be some defined goal I'm working toward. But for me, that goal is really, "become a competent rider who can ride most any sane horse." It's not about getting to the A-circuit jumpers or 4th level dressage or anything like that. I wouldn't mind doing a little showing, but I'm totally comfortable with sticking with schooling shows and the like. I'd like to work more in dressage if only because it will make me a better, quieter rider. I love the idea of looking like the horse can read my mind when we ride, you know?

And really, I'm just happy being around horses. That and riding is my physical exercise routine. I can never seem to motivate myself to get out to the gym or to go walking or whatever. But tell me I can ride if I spend a few hours cleaning stalls? I'm totally there.

So, where's the point in all this? I have no idea, it's really more of a ramble.

I guess I was leading up to that I actually do have a private lesson today. Last night was my regular group lesson, and it was a pretty good one (I rode a horse I haven't before, and we got along well, though he's so small compared to what I'm used to. Part of that is because I also volunteer at Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue though, I think.). I've pretty much got down the departure into the canter while sitting (and this is one place where it seems like most of the others in the class are a little behind) but I think a big part of this one for me is that I just feel more secure doing it sitting then going up into two point. I never really learned, originally as a kid, to go into a canter at two point, and it feels strange to do it now.

So anyway, a big part of last night was working up to the group canter, but more than that was doing trotting/posting exercises. Regular posting, of course, but also doing things like standing up for two beats and sitting for two or standing up for three and sitting for three. Which I was pretty hit or miss on. Sometimes I had the rhythm just right and it felt easy, but most of the time I found myself standing up off balance (leaning too far back so I ended up stretching my arms out so as not to catch the horse in the mouth) and then I'd lose the rhythm, have to go back to regular posting, get situated, and try again.

So I want to work more on those exercises as well as cantering. If only because, though I feel okay at the canter, I'm not sure how much control I really have (like, if I were on a not-dead-broke-schoolie, would the horse just canter along the rail?). Oh, and sitting trot which is another hit-or-miss for me. A lot of the time, lately, I relax enough, but sometimes I still find myself bouncing all over the saddle.

So, I scheduled the private as a makeup for a lesson I missed. We'll see how it goes. I'm sort of nervous about having a lesson where the instructor's watching me the entire time. I think that's the other reason I like a group lesson, I'm not the complete focus of attention.

But there's also the possibility I need that focus, if only every now and again.

1 comment:

Shadow Rider said...

Hey, you are in my neck of the woods! Wanna come ride? I have spares..
I have my horses in Highland, near the Grey Pony.