Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lesson #55: Frustration Rising

Sometimes things don't get better and you just continue on the bad path you've started down; this was one of those kinds of lessons. I rode Trinket again and I had a good deal of trouble getting her into the canter. The last few lessons have been a real test of my patience and self confidence getting into the canter with Trinket. But, it hasn't always been like this. I worked up to the point where I was able to canter her indoors in a smaller space with control. It was a very satisfying accomplishment as I slowly worked up to the ability to do that. But, today was rough because she didn't get into the canter despite me pushing her.

Instead of the usual posting or seated trot, we focused on extending and shortening our trot. Lengthening a trot has a horse cover more ground and the strides are literally longer. This seems to also mean that they go faster. Shortening is more 'march like' where they are covering less ground and it's closer to them marching. When we were lengthening, we were asked to push them forward and to post with an exaggerated post but going away from home. Shortening the trot was done in the direction towards home and in a seated trot.

Our next exercise was trot poles laid in a closer measurement where we are required to shorten their stride so that there is one foot fall between each pole and no poles are missed. This is not as easy as it looks and if they're not careful, they can stop on the poles or miss them entirely. Following this exercise, Jennifer lengthens the distance between the poles and says now we are to extend our trot and still end up with a single foot fall between each pole. Not easy. If you don't lengthen enough, they have two foot falls between each pole and that's wrong. So, you need to have them really move forward and reach for that next step.

From there, we get into something different: gymnastics. Jennifer was basically asking for the horse to do a line of multiple jumps and moving through it into a canter. First few times was a trot through it and we ended up in canter b/c there was so little space between the jumps that they had no choice but to canter out. What a neat feeling! You have no space for a half seat or anything and you stay in the 2-point for the entire line. She even goes as far as to triple the jumps and the horses have to leap leap leap canter.

After going through with trot, we're asked to get into a canter to go into the jumps as well as continue out of it. This has become another lesson like the last few, with Trinket. I am frustrated because she won't start into the canter and seems to be able to get out with a canter but not after pulling me so far forward that I am pushing against her crest/whithers to get back up. I'm clearly being pulled down far too much. The canter has become a really frustrating experience for me as no matter what I try, I am being pulled down and the canter is becoming non-existent because neither of us are able to get into it.

I finish this lesson feeling frustrated with the situation and unclear about what I need to do, to get myself back up and her moving into a canter. But, I have had quite the experience jumping through those gymnastics!

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