Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lesson #43: That'll Put Hair on Your Chest!

This week was one of those regular weeks that felt fast yet you knew full well that it took forever for Friday to come. But that didn't matter because I was on my way out to Greyden! I'm excited to get out and just experience the nice weather and do something I enjoy doing immensely. As we drive through the driveway, I see a brown coloured horse jog up to the top of paddock 7.... and I see Aspen! Since the traffic was so obliging, I decided that I would go and visit Aspen since we have free time. This also meant that I probably wasn't scheduled to ride him. :(

I'm riding Trinket again. No biggies; I'm starting to get more brazen with this mare because frankly, I was nervous riding her initially. Around the barn, the talk about Trinket is that she's got some difficulties for a green rider to contend with. But the way I looked at it is that I would be fine as long as I knew what I'm getting into and that I do what I am able to do and just keep calm and ride on ;)

Afterall, as Gillian pointed out before, "Every bad lesson is a step closer to being an even better rider!". Well put, my friend! Like many things in our lives, anything worth doing requires hard work, determination and perseverance. Nothing worthy comes for free. So, I've committed to taking things that come my way as they are and using it to my advantage and take each instance as an opportunity to learn--something that I've been working on with with my perspective about work.

When we arrive, we check out the lesson previous and see that the students are working on the cross country course making the jumps and cantering around on the grass! It looks so neat! That is what I ultimately want to get into when I can graduate to owning my own horse and being able to do these simple rustic jumps. It really makes me excited when I see this because I imagine the end goal I am working towards (that and being able to ride into battle with a sword should the need arise).

Anyways! We get moving today with a short trot exercise: both posting and seated. My seated trot is still not enjoyable but I'm able to endure it much longer than when I first started. It appears that we're all moving well today so Sheri quickly moves us to the canter and jumping. Jumping.... my hands get sweaty just at the thought of cantering with this mare... and now we're going to try jumping during a canter? Ugh. It's nothing complex and just a low X jump but I haven't even gotten a proper canter on this mare. Our canter exercises didn't go so badly and I managed to get her into the canter several times but they were short stints because she has a tendency to move into a heavy forehand which means she basically gets heavy on the front and she also gradually lowers her head more and more until you're having difficulty staying upright. A few times I lose my stirrup and had to recollect; which only exacerbates the difficulties getting into canter! She does a bunch of pony trot before getting into the canter and often times when she took off, I wasn't ready for her and sometimes I pulled on her mouth. But I persisted because I resolved to conquer this gait on this mare.

When we were ready to move to the jump, we line-up and ride towards the jump with the intent to canter into it and out. Going from walk to canter is a lot of fun (some of these horses can go stop to canter) because it's like skipping second gear :D But with so much pony trot transition to canter, it's difficult to be ready for the jump in a canter! I push her hard a few times and of the 8 or so attempts, I got at least 2 successful canter and jumps; that's a good success rate for me! And one of those times I was on the incorrect canter lead :| but because I am still pretty green, I didn't feel the difference and didn't have the nerve to look down. Sheri reminds me to keep my eyes up because the minute my eyes drift down, this mare decides to do the same herself.

A few things I've noticed this lesson is that I've had more success with keeping my weight in my heels and my legs where they should be. It's far from perfect but it's a big move forward! I am consistently working on my inner thigh muscles and my balance has improved. Now it's a matter of continuing to refine my balance in transitions and sitting tall during these transitions too--especially at a pony trot. But, I feel pretty good about this lesson and actually look forward to riding her again!


  1. see it's good you're getting more comfortable with her! I also noticed how you slipped in a reference about owning your own horse!

    1. yep. she's a good mare but definitely takes some getting used to. not quite the same as my bestie bonnie but still a-ok!
      you noticed, huh? well don't forget it! i won't forget that you didn't deny this ambition :D

  2. of course I wasn't THAT subtle!

    1. whaaa! no way. i was way subtle about it. i didn't make it bold or anything! if you read it fast enough, you might even miss it ;)