Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lesson #7: Getting Back on the Horse (literally)

I spend a lot of my free time during the week looking up riding videos to see how to improve or do things better. I checked out the "how to canter" and "how to improve your classical seat" videos on VideoJug. I figured that my issues with the seated trot might be related to poor posture or seat. I found the video helpful since I got a better idea about the correct way to sit in the saddle and then the video goes into corrections for common mistakes. Great video for someone who's interested to get a better idea about the correct seating. It isn't something we have a lot of time to cover during lessons.

I was riding Bonnie on Wednesday. Last week Sheri said that Bonnie's a bit tough to get going because she makes for a challenging ride. She's insistent on her own way at the beginning of classes and is not very forgiving about what a rider might ask her to do. We work on seated trot and really, I've not mastered it; I still find myself bouncing a lot.

Sheri tells me to lengthen my legs (heels down), relax my hips so that I flow with her trot and to tuck my tailbone under to create a heavy seat. I still don't understand the concept of "creating a heavy seat". But once I've engaged my abs too, things seem to come together. Now, the canter: move my outside leg back behind the girth and squeeze both legs. Problem is, Bonnie's just going faster and faster in the trot and I'm getting more and more nervous because of the multitude of things that I'm trying to concentrate on doing simultaneously. Each arena corner is another opportunity to get her into the canter so I try again and again with little success. It's frustrating, and add the fact that Bonnie remains to be a bit clumsy when she's trots, I've got myself quite a bit to deal with. Faster and faster and then the magical moment where she transitions into the canter! Except I didn't transition with her so now I'm all over my seat and my balance is straight out the window!

The next thing I know, I see the ceiling of the arena and I've landed on the ground, tucked and rolled into the door with a big thud. At least I managed to fall professionally from a moving horse! Maybe I should forget learning to ride properly but consider a career in equestrian stunt work.

In the past, I would have felt more badly about the turn of events and given up on the remainder of the lesson. But you know what? I got right back up and got back on Bonnie without blinking. We didn't get back into a canter but we did manage to finish the lesson with one another. Next week, I'll give another horse a try to see what I might be able to accomplish with the canter but I am more than willing to get back on Bonnie to get it right. Afterall, I might get more accomplished with a "difficult" horse at the start.