Saturday, July 6, 2013

Lesson #38: Envision It

Finally. It's the weekend. We made it!

I thought it was going to rain during lesson but the weather was wonderful--despite being a little humid for my liking. I'm happy to see I'm riding my unicorn friend, Aspen! WOOPIE!! He's inside today so I go and find him. When I see him, I call for him and he looks up; but doesn't budge from his stance--as if to say "aw man... crud". The tack-up goes well and we get ready to head out in a good easy pace. Did I mention I'm super excited to be riding Aspen? This horse is truly the bee's knees and cat's pajamas.

This is one of the first tastes of humidity and riding... I hate humidity. I think I was sweating through my breeches. Gross. ADW is sick today so it's just 3 of us and we make our way over to the ring to get our lesson started.

Sheri gets us warmed up through the usual trot. I find that this is most helpful not just for the horse who might be just coming back from doing nothing but for a rider like me: who doesn't ride often and this time is generally used to loosen things up and get into the right rhythm. Tonight even Denise is out to hang out with us and I think it's nice to have company/an audience. The sand is wet so I'm not exactly keen on the idea of running around on a horse but heck, if they say it's ok, I'm going to just go with it. Afterall, it's time to make the most of my lesson.

Posting trot and lots tonnes (not tons) of seated trot. I still loathe seated trot. It's one of those moments when I go
Did you say... seated trot? -___-'

But, that's okay because developing a good seat is fundamental to pretty much everything else. So, I persist! And since it's on Aspen, things are generally more comfortable. We do a lot of this funfun seated trot and move into some canter too. I love cantering on Aspen. Sheri has us do some walk to canter and back to walk transitions. I am falling all over the place during transitions. I bet if I had to do equitation, I would fail miserably. I do notice though, that when I sit straight and chest up and out as well as shoulders back, things aren't as "messy". It's a matter of endurance and training those muscles to persist the position.

My position is pretty poor and I notice that when my position starts to suffer, everything else kind of cumulatively goes with it. So, things to keep in mind when I'm riding, in terms of position: arms at my sides with the hands approximately 6 inches apart, heels DOWN, sit up straight with chest open and shoulders back and down, hips loose, "tripod" seat position, eyes where you're going. All of this while maintaining a relaxed body. Sheri points out that at the level we are getting at, we should be using our lower leg to encourage the horse to move instead of our heels--this makes total sense!!! When I was giving canter aids before, one of my feet always lifted up out of the stirrup until I wasn't in anymore! It was so frustrating. Then again, I've learned to take back my stirrups while cantering or adjusting the stirrup during a fast gait--mainly because I'm forced to do so...

K, so I find that when I ride Aspen a few of the above items come together a bit better than the others but to get them to all simultaneously come together? That comes and goes. I'm aiming to have it all together... I've developed a few mantras I use when I ride and mumble them to myself when I'm losing focus. It's something I used to do when I dragon boated so I could prep before a major race. Actually, maybe I should try that during lessons... to focus on what needs to be done and envision what I should be doing.


  1. seated trot is opposite of the bees knees, but necessary to keep doing tonnes (or tons) of it!

    1. seated trot is miserable :S we're too old to move like that and never trained to move as such so it's a billion times more difficult! :(
      but, i've started to feel the side to side rocking of their pace a bit better. really neat to get more of these nuances!

  2. if you can master the sitting trot, most things will seem easy! Apparently doing a sitting trot properly, is better for you then doing plank because it engages all the muscles. Aspen is a great boy to start that on, as is Buddy. You are definatley NOT too old for this, I used to ride with a woman in her 60's! plus my mom even rode some at Greyden (Bonnie) and shes disabled and pretty dang old :P (she'll kill me if she reads this) LOL.

    Now I was taught a little mantra for riding thats slightly... who am I kidding, its rude but hilarious and honestly the truest thing I can think of. "Shoulders like a princess, hips like a whore" and that is always my thought during a canter! helps boat loads!

    It was great to finally see you on Friday! :) See you soon I believe, on my way out to the barn right now!
    <3 bye

    1. it was great to see you back at the stables on friday--even if it was briefly. i'm glad that you're back into the swing of things and hope to see more of you around!

      you're such a joker! your comment about your mom and then the mantra... hehehe

  3. Every time you call aspen your unicorn friend I crack the heck up. So cute!!

    1. aspen is awesome! he's an old horse but still has enough spunk to give andrew a hard time. haha