Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lesson #12: everything's coming up Milhouse!

It's the first week back from the holidays and I expected most people to be back to the things they normally do too but I got lucky again and I had the opportunity to have another private lesson. What luck!

In the previous post, I mentioned that I set goals for this lesson: 1. to initiate canter; 2. canter without holding onto the saddle; 3. ensure I'm not balancing through the reins/my hands. Documenting my lessons has been helpful to pinpoint things that went well and things that I need to work on. I'm determined to continually move forward so I can improve. I only ride 1 hour a week right now so it's important that I put in the appropriate effort. But "shhh!!" don't tell my parents! They would wish me to have put in this much effort into my school work.

When I go and find Aspen from his stall, he's come forth and sticks his head over the stall door. To my surprise, his neighbour Morty sticks his head up over too and they start a silent disagreement. Ears go back and head throwing and nodding ensue. Good thing I didn't unlatch anything yet. I break up their little disagreement and latch Aspen to get tacked up. Things go well and I'm ready to get going.

When we get into the ring, Sheri wastes no time and gets me into the posting trot. Immediately, I remind myself to check the posting diagonal and then look up at the next letter, heels down with long legs, and to maintain balance in my stirrups--not my hands. Suddenly, things come together and I feel exactly what needs to be felt during a proper posting trot. We move onto alternating posting and seated trot around the ring and I learn to change directions properly by turning inside and continuing on a diagonal direction into the corner and turn the opposite way I would have turned:
(courtesy of Present Tense's post)
In addition, I also work on asymmetrical figure 8s in a posting trot where I have to turn my head and look where I want to go before I actually turn Aspen. This exercise is new to me because it didn't hit me that I would be able to stay balanced if I did that. Instead, it did wonders for my balance and I was able to keep Aspen going, rather than slow down like what's happened in the past. We continue to work on a lot of flat work over poles and turning.

The last thing we worked on was the canter. Dreaded canter? Perhaps. But like I said in my last lesson post, I was holding onto the past and anticipating something that wasn't guaranteed to happen. I threw out the idea of falling off and took a deep breath and just concentrated on what was happening in the moment. What was I going to be doing? Where was I going? There were a few times that I had gotten distracted with applying the aids and maintaining my seat (in the seated trot) as well as keeping my eyes up and at the next letter. But, at some point, something just clicked and the canter took off and I made the decision to let go of the pommel. I was flying. It was an amazing feeling for everything to come together so well today. Sure, there were moments when I lost focus but at least the canter was happening and I didn't need to hold onto anything to stay in it.

My next lesson goals to add?
1. initiate the canter while keeping myself together
2. keep my eyes up so that the canter is something I stop, not because I have to stop
3. continue working on keeping my heels down and legs long, during seated trot

Lessons also move from Wednesday nights to Fridays next week.

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