Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lesson #60: More Leg!

Today is the last lesson that ADW and I are taking at Greyden. It makes me sad that I won't be riding there any more because I've grown attached to some of the horses, like Trinket. Although this mare is difficult to ride, she's one of my favourite ponies. There's something about her that I am drawn to. Tonight's lesson started out with the usual warm up of trotting around. Already, I'm caught for my first missed posting diagonal.

The class is focused on bending. We use 20m circles at trot to prepare for our bending. I try to ride with a lighter rein with Trinket because the last lesson with Trinket proved that she responded much better when I wasn't heavy with her face. She kept her head up and moved forward. Today she seemed a bit dull and didn't really seem to want to get into doing much. I had to encourage her frequently, even in trot. And, as expected, in corners she'd get even slower and I needed to use more inside leg to tell her to continue to move forward and bend too. More leg!

To incorporate bending and keeping moving, we did trot poles at angles with the goal to continue in the same pace at turns and to keep moving forward. This proved to be a particularly challenging exercise because Trinket was predictably slowing when turning. More leg!

To finish up the lesson, we're moving into canter. I find myself falling forward again with my upper back rounding over and my hands dropping and Trinket getting into a pony trot. I ride the pony trot better than I have in the past but it still isn't something that I'm excited to do. When she gets into a canter, I realize my weight is almost always in the balls of my foot and not in my heels. Hence, the flopping forwards. I always have to readjust myself once I get into the canter but this is becoming a problem because she takes this need to adjust as an opportunity to either transition down into a trot or switch her lead. Both are equally frustrating because I can't seem to get a full go around of the canter. We try several times and eventually get it. I had to really tell her to get into a canter because wouldn't listen to me asking. More leg!

To keep her from drifting into the corners, I'm reminded to use my inside leg to push her out. Learning to get her to do things from leg aids can be challenging too... as many schoolies sort of just tune you out. So the nudges I give her aren't enough. More leg!

We finish the lesson with leg aid riding only. It's tough but I get through it by getting her to turn with my legs only. Granted, it's only at a walk but I'm sure I would probably be in big trouble if we were trotting (or faster) with only leg aids. But, riding is not about the hands; it's about riding with your seat and legs. An incredible performance can be seen in Heartland episode 18 of season 5 when Amy auditions for Dark Horse.

Posting Diagonal Jar Tally: 3.5 x $2.00 = $7.00
To date: $19.00

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