Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lesson #37: Push

It's the start of the long weekend! Who isn't totally excited? I know I am. The day was a bit dreary because of the rain and there were thunderstorm warnings for the Erin area. I wasn't keen on riding out in the rain. Last time I rode in the rain, Nikki was being a big pain about the rain and it made for a difficult ride.

I got assigned Atlas this lesson who was spending his time out in one of the paddocks by himself. When I went to get him, he trotted over and seemed happy to come out of his paddock. It might be a good lesson. During tack up, he's a little bit more lively than usual and we get ready quickly.

The lesson starts out the usual trot warm-ups to get our rhythm together and Atlas is a good boy today. Probably in part due to the fact that I've also decided to remember to bring a crop and got him forward thinking right away. He's moving along nicely and we do a lot of seated trot. I hate seated trot. I work on keeping my weight down in my heels and my hips loose. For some reason, Aspen is the only horse which I have little problem doing this.

We continue to work on the seated and posting trot and work up to the canter. I am reminded of my incorrect hand position and I keep telling myself to remember that I have to have my hands in the right place as they tend to drop lower. Keeping a deep seat on Atlas is difficult for some reason. I find myself bouncing around and I have to be careful to maintain my forward perspective and my balance because I feel like I'm being tossed side to side. His canter is also one of those canters that is higher and he tends to launch himself up and forward. At one point, he takes the incorrect canter lead and I didn't really notice enough of a difference between the right lead and wrong lead. How to know you're on the right canter lead? Like diagonals, you look down at the horse's shoulder; their inside front leg should be leading when they canter and not the other fore leg. If you get the wrong lead, you should feel very off balance.

Sheri tells us that we can work on the double X jump, cavaletti or box jumps. Atlas is a big pain to deal with for this. I try to get him over the cavaletti to get warmed up and he continues to slow to a trot just before the jump. Sheri tells me my 2-point is all wrong and that I'm leaning on his upper body--I get ready too early and then I'm leaning over him. This is more difficult than I thought! She says that I should just relax a bit more and let him "take me into the 2-point". I try and try and try again without much success. He even refuses one of the jumps and veers off to the right. *sigh* I work harder at trying to understand what it is that I'm doing right. I try using the crop enthusiastically a few steps before the actual jump in addition to my leg aids to remind him I want him to move forward. The first time it just didn't work and he gets into another trot. He even mega trips over the cavaletti at one point and almost took the whole thing with him. I know. Geesh.

The lesson is almost over by now and I have one more chance to see if I can get over the double X jumps--I figure why the heck not. So I push and push him just before the jumps and relax into the 2-point when it seems natural for me to be pushed into it. And what do you know! He sails over the jumps and I go with him! HURRAH!! Success :)

I am bursting with joy that I've been able to keep him going in a canter over the jumps! Looks like I'm improving on this and I"ll be able to keep progressing forward so that I can ride any horse! My next horsey adventure is this Sunday at the Teen Ranch horse show with ADW and his young cousins!


  1. Your description of "using the crop enthusiastically" to remind Atlas to move forward is hilarious. It totally reminds me of my pre-leasing days when I would be trying soooooo hard to get my lesson horse to canter over the trot poles without stopping. Sounds like you had a great end to your lesson though! It is always great to end on a high note!

    1. i'm glad it ended on a high note too! because i was getting really frustrated. there's this other horse who one of the other students rides and this horse is all go so he never has a problem to get over things. meanwhile, the rest of us get these stubborn horses that decide they don't feel like doing much of anything except their own thing!