Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cantering in the indoor (and the rest of the lesson was good too)

So last night we had an hour-long semi-private lesson (another horse and rider in the ring with us). I kind of like switching it up so sometimes he has to ride with other horses (which also means we have to work on rating gaits because when there's another horse, he tends to trot faster and then I have to work at slowing him down so we don't constantly pass/run up their rear end) and then sometimes he has to ride alone, both of which are good experiences for him. Also, with the semi-privates, sometimes he has to stand in the middle of the ring and wait while the other horse and rider do something and sometimes he has to go on the rail and ignore the horse waiting in the middle.

Anyway. Christina had me start out the lesson with no stirrups and do some posting at the trot which...I wasn't terribly successful at. Or at least I don't feel like I was. I couldn't really get the rhythm down. Eventually, she let me pick my stirrups up again. I'm kind of convinced they're simply too long (I have 'em on the shortest holes) as when I post or do two point, I'm not really clearing the saddle (and I know you're not supposed to be way out of it, but I feel like to even get out at all, my leg is going kinda straight). I'd just make more holes but the stitching is coming loose anyway so I just should get a new pair. Anybody have some dark leathers (havana or black. Preferably black) that are 54" or so?

Apparently when I start out a lesson (it seems to get better as we go along and I think a lot of it has to do with me not riding as often as I should lately so I haven't built up the proper muscles) my leg moves A LOT. Especially when posting. So Christina kept having to remind me to keep my calf on. I kept feeling like to do this, I needed to bring my heel up and do something funky with my feet. Whatever it was, it wasn't correct. So then I had to stop and do it correctly before I could feel like what it should be feeling like. And then whenever I go up to post I have to remember to keep my calf on because apparently my leg goes "out" instead and Christina says she saw a few inches of daylight between my calf and my horse. By the end of the lesson, I think I'd worked it out and gotten it down, but I know I'll have to do it all over again next week, ugh.

We also had to go around the ring once in two point which....well, my heel dropped a lot more for it but it was just hellacious to stay up. I couldn't find the right spot which is another reason I think my stirrups are too long as I know in the past (in other saddles, on other horses) if I brought up my stirrups a hole or two it got easier to balance. Though in my case it also got easier to balance when Christina told me to bring my hands forward. I think I had them still about the spot on his neck where you hold them normally (maybe a little forward of that) and when I brought them up more, it did get easier.

We also did a little bit more of trotting a weaving pattern through cones, and trotting cloverleaf-esque shapes in the indoor (trot down centerline, turn left at C, left again at E, cross X, turn left at B, go back down the centerline, then turn...basically, whatever direction Christina called out :) And don't forget to change diagonals!) with trot poles down the centerline.

And before I got too tired from that, Christina asked if I wanted to try cantering Kieran. See, he can canter under saddle. I've done it out on the trail, and did it a tiny (crappy) bit at Saddleview. But I hadn't been able to get him to do it in the indoor (except on the ground, on the lunge line). It's kind of a small ring and it's pretty difficult for a lot of the horses there to pick a canter in there under saddle so we rarely do it. I'd tried it with him a few times but it just wasn't seeming to work. We'd come out of a corner, I'd sit and bring my outside leg back, he'd speed up, but he wouldn't canter.

Christina figured it was at least partly because I take my reins up shorter when I prepare to canter and because he can't really lift himself into it yet (still needs to pull himself into it, we think), he'd go to stretch down and hit the end of the reins and...basically I was keep him from going up into the next gear. So I gave him a looser rein, held a crop (didn't even have to wave it at him) and again, nice working trot around the ring, come out of the corner on a long side, sit and bring back outside leg. Hard. (He still doesn't know "outside leg means canter" so have to do it more exaggeratedly than "normal"). He managed to get it a few times, just a few strides down the long side, but he did it! He has such a nice canter. Now we just have to work on steering. ;)

Of course, most of what we do will still revolve around walking and trotting, but it's nice to know I can get him to canter in there if I want to.

Discussed with Christina that maybe it would be good for us both to do a few private lessons on the lunge line. He lunges pretty well and then I can more ensure I'm focusing on giving good cues with my leg and seat and not having to rely on the reins as much.

Also, after the lesson, Christina hopped on Kieran, just to see how he goes (she hadn't ridden him yet.) and she really liked him. Said he felt really comfortable. :)


SprinklerBandit said...

Sounds like a good lesson. I like the idea of lunge lessons... maybe I'll try to take one in the next couple weeks.

Your stirrup leathers sound WAY too long, and if the stiching's coming undone, they're probably not safe either. (That's my inner 4-Her coming out.) I have a pair of havana 3/4" x 54" leathers that are barely used, but you might want to check and see if it's cheaper to just buy some locally rather than ship them.

Analise said...

Yeah, I've seen some online (Someone on a forum I'm on has some for $22 including shipping and horseloverz has some for $17.20 [and i have the free shipping code].) I haven't had a chance to get down to my local tack shop yet and it looks like I wouldn't be able to do so before Monday at this point.

I'll likely just order a pair and doing some stirrup-less riding till they get here (or borrow someone else's leathers. :) )

They didn't use to feel so long to me (they can't go any higher) and I'm wondering if they've sort of 'stretched' because of the stitching thing. That said...the stitching isn't that loose, but it is something I want to deal with before it becomes a real problem.