Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Today's Lesson and a Picture

Had the private lesson today and I think we definitely pinpointed some of my issues.

Kristy had me do a lot of posting exercises. Two up, one down, three up, one down, etc. Definitely showed I'm not as balanced posting as I like to think I am. A big part of it simply having to do with me locking my knees. Except, I don't realize that I'm doing it until it's pointed out. So I guess I just have to keep doing exercises to help me relax and feel how it's supposed to feel so I can get the difference. I don't remember if I had this problem when I was a kid, though I bet I didn't. Now I'm thinking too hard about it.

We also worked on the transition from trot to canter. I don't really have much of a problem sitting for cantering (I find it pretty easy, actually) and Kristy actually asked me about that since the others do so I mentioned I used to ride when I was a kid. She said that explained it and she'd thought I was like the others and only started riding as an adult. Something about how if you've felt it before, it's easier to "get" the rhythm of the canter, but if you've never felt it, it takes time (like everything you learn with horses!).

With the transition, though, I'd been thinking I needed to sit for trotting several paces before asking for the canter. My sitting trot isn't as good as it could be so this could lead to me bouncing around and tensing up and generally making it difficult to ask the horse to canter. So today she had me choose a spot to ask for the canter, and then choose a spot a bit before where I'd (still while posting) shorten up the reins, make sure Bloom (the horse I was riding) was in a good working trot, that my position was good, and only when I got to the "canter point" would I sit down, bring my outside leg back and ask. This worked great the first time I did it.

The second time? I started thinking too much about it, I think, and forgetting to relax. Also, Bloom's trot is kind of deceptive. He wasn't really in a working trot, I ask him to canter, and suddenly he's actually trotting. So we go around again. Again I don't get him to canter. And one more time.... yeah.

Kristy must have noticed I looked a bit frustrated, so she called me into the middle and we talked about it and about remembering to breathe. Then she had me try it from the other direction. Lo and behold! It worked! Several times in a row! Woohoo!

And, to cap that off, she had me do it again a couple times in the first direction. Again it worked! Of course, by now, Bloom had cottoned on to what we were doing and I had to work to keep him trotting (instead of breaking into a canter) until it was time for me to say "okay, let's canter now". But I'd rather have that, I think, than a horse you have to fight to get to go anywhere. :)

Though the second type is useful too, especially for exercising your leg!

All in all, a good horsey day. Definitely learned some stuff, came away with some "homework", and I feel better now that I know some specific things to work on. I had a pretty good idea about it but it helped to step back and have some time where the instructor was just watching me so we could really work on me. I really like group lessons, as I said before, but sometimes you miss that. Especially, of course, as the class size grows larger (though ours is pretty manageable at the moment, I suppose.).

And now that you've read all that, here's a picture of a couple of the horses at Gentle Giants, that's Twister and Remington, I think.

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