Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lesson #20: Let's Get Technical, Technical!

Friday March 8, 2013

We've spent the majority of our past lessons where we learn the basic aids and then get a feel for what it feels like, to ride. And, it's been some of the most satisfying times because of the fact that you don't have to worry about the little bits here and there. It's like what Sheri tells us about just getting a feel for what it's like, "to ride". While it's important, for our old adult bodies that don't bend the ways that kids' bodies do, to get a real feel for things, it's equally important to refine one's technique. So, Sheri went into detail about understanding a horse's stride while you're riding at the various gaits. We focused on recognizing when each leg moved during the trot. Posting diagonals were the starting point and then we were asked to determine which foot was falling as we were either sitting or rising.

The trot is a 2 beat gait where diagonal pairs of feet fall simultaneously and when you're doing the proper diagonal, you'll be able to easily gauge which hoof is falling. Sheri tests us on when the hind foot is falling and it's a fair bit trickier than I thought! My diagonals were all over the map and it made for difficulty to determine the hind foot falling. I'll need to work on that. Next time silently say to myself which foot is falling as I'm doing something.

We also learn the "half halt". We use it to slow a horse down and get him to collect his gait so that the energy is directed to the hind more. In essence, the gaits get shorter. This aids we're employing are difficult! While post trotting, the rider is meant to squeeze the inside leg while squeezing the outside rein. Let me tell you, this has got to be impossible! Sheri further explains the purpose of each rein in these instances and it's not what we originally thought... I do not remember having done it successfully even once during the evening. Check, something else to work on.

Finally, something that I've been picking up a little more quickly: the canter. I've managed to initiate the canter with Indy and fly through the arena but I also recognize that this boy is easier to get together to do this sort of thing. Riding the canter is not the issue... it's the transitions that are killing me. I'm sure I look like a sack of potatoes those moments where I'm trying to transition up or down. Going up has been challenging because I tend to lean forward and I'm sure my hands are totally out of whack. But, the decreasing the transition has been even worse! Legs flying out of stirrups, hands jossling and the uncertain seat. Getting collected coming out of a canter is the next thing I will focus on too.

All in all, a perfectly technical lesson that I soaked up like a sponge.

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