Friday, November 2, 2012

Lesson #3: Riding Diagonals

After nearly 3 weeks away from the stables, I got back to it last night; and strangely, I felt it was a more challenging class this time around. I'm not sure why that was.

This is the first class I don all my new apparel. Real breeches, paddock boots and my helmet. It's nice not to be wearing the communal one. I skip the half chaps this time because I exchanged my suede ones last weekend due to peeling on the synthetic portion and the girl told me that they had some issues with that model so I moved up to the leather Mondega half chap. But, the idea of taking an hour to get myself suited up didn't appeal to me.

The drive out this time was smooth and I didn't feel like I was rushing or stressed out; but I spent most of time in the car with my inner child and thinking "are we there yet?". Which brings me to my major pet peeve: long commutes to get somewhere. It's the one thing that I'm willing to pay more, to avoid doing. It's 1 hour one way and on some nights, that's just not appealing.

I arrived in good time with at least 10 minutes to spare. The feral cat in the area had a litter and her babies are everywhere. I was squealing with delight at all the little kittens running around! They're such cutie pies. The little black one that comes bounding at me everytime I see him is just so cute. At one point, I'm grinning and holding 3 kittens simultaneously. What joy. Oh right, I came for lessons.

I check out the board and see I'm scheduled to ride Bonnie tonight. Yay Bonnie! Bonnie's nice and polite the first time you ride her but it seems that she starts testing your patience and skill level, the more you ride her.While Nicole's ridden a few different horses by now, Bonnie and I are partners in crime. I should change my name to Clyde. HAR HAR HAR! Okokok, groaner. Tonight, this wonderful horse has come to me covered in mud like a pig who rolled around in the muck. Which means... I have to clean her up before I can tack her. Hurrah. I'm getting an arm and back workout before the class starts!

In the ring, I'm still so green that I'm not sure if her undesired responses are due to my inexperience or if she's just messing with me. The lesson today is riding diagonals: identifying proper riding diagonal and then executing the diagonal while posting. A lot of equine jargon, I know. I'll spend some time with some riding jargon in another post. It seems that the harder I try, the more often I get it wrong. Right now, it's about 50/50 to get it right and even then, I don't know when I'm doing it right! In addition to working on the riding diagonals, Lenka (our instructor) has us working on strengthening our legs too... So we ride and post for a long while. This is really challenging for me because I can't keep a regular post and sometimes do a "double bounce" somewhere. I'm sure Bonnie is really not keen on my poor riding technique. It's not obvious to most people but the poorer the rider's skill set, the more uncomfortable it is for the horse. After dismounting, I leave with jelly legs and I notice I'm walking a bit like John Wayne.

Looks like I'll need to start working on the endurance needed to post continuously as well as getting myself together for the seated trot. There's a lot of work ahead of me...


  1. Ugh, learning how to change diagonals took me FOREVER - I never thought I would be able to sit for the double bounce, let alone figure out which diagonal I was on without my instructor telling me. It was the best feeling when it finally clicked. Enjoy your lessons!

    1. thanks! every time my instructor asks me if i think i'm on the correct diagonal and i say "yes", i'm usually not :( and when i say "no", i am. how frustrating!! i don't know how often you ride but i feel like once a week just isn't enough...

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