Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lesson #8: Think Forward and Let Go

I have a final exam on Tuesday and you'd think I'd have spent the better part of the week thinking about the exam and studying for it but.... instead, I've spent it checking out horse-related videos on VideoJug and watching Heartland. I figure that maybe I can pick up on things I’m doing wrong during my lessons. I figured that the fall last week is fully attributed to (my own) rider error since the horse can only do as it’s being told.

While I’ve gotten a better technical appreciation, execution has been trying. Last night, Sheri got us into seated trot early in the lesson. The equine friend I was paired with last night is a sweet, large pony, Nikki. She’s an agreeable sweet-heart and easy to get along with but l-a-z-y. When I thought I had gotten into a trot, Sheri yells at me “that’s barely a trot! Use the crop!!” And all the while I was thinking “wow, this seated trot is much better. I’m not bouncing around everywhere”. *siiiigh*

Like I mentioned last week, there are over a dozen things a rider is trying to contend with so it’s not by any means a walk in the park. All our muscles and even mind-set needs to be retrained so it’s certainly a challenge, considering that I ride once a week. Here is the slew of mistakes I need to work on correcting… lower leg positioning, long leg, deeper seat, relaxing lower back, loosening hips, tightening abs, keeping a constant light contact with the horse/saddle and steady my hands. My biggest problem is the lower leg position because when I go out of alignment there, everything else starts to go out of whack.

I did a lot of seated trot last night and I think that while my brain was “in it”, my heart wasn’t. I couldn’t commit to just relaxing and going with the flow, literally. I was stuck thinking about getting all the technical bits right and thinking about the minute details of the exact moment instead of thinking forward and holistically. That’s the thing I'm realizing about the canter… you have to just feel it with your body and mind and stop thinking about what's happening and trying to tweak each thing. It's like knowing what you want, asking for it and then letting (trust, perhaps?) the horse take you there; you don't have to be in control of every minute detail--kind of like life, eh? But this doesn't go to say that without some key pieces in place, you'd do any worse... because getting your lower legs in place and long will be the start of everything else; it's like getting a solid foundation down first. Because if I don't get that right, I'll set off my balance, start bouncing about and then get more tense and try to compensate in the wrong fashion and well… end up on the ground. When I think back about the instances where Bonnie got into a canter (though momentarily), I remember not thinking and just sitting and thinking forward. I didn't even have to hold onto the saddle!

Hopefully thinking about something else for the next few days will reorient my thoughts by giving space and a chance to ‘reset’. Intermediate microeconomics, here I come!


  1. not as lazy as rock! amiright?

    1. there is no equine friend lazier than rock... nor more dramatic about it.