Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lesson #64: Technically Difficult

December 1, 2013

It's cloudy, rainy and cold out. All conditions that enhance the challenge of a good lesson. This is all the more reason to consider well, your fitness regimen outside of lessons.... similar to the way I endeavour to practice the piano daily so my biweekly lessons are fruitful. I did a few days where I completed 15-20 minutes of yoga stretches and sun salutations if I couldn't fit in much else.

I have to go to the paddocks to fetch Ariel; I like doing this because it gives me the opportunity to see her before she has to work. It's great that she's trained whereby she approaches you when you head out there, and seems happy to come in. Once all tacked up, we make our way into the arena. There's a new horse today, Romeo. He's a really pretty dark bay.

We actually spend almost half the lesson warming up because we have to; the arena isn't heated and since it's cold and wet, it takes longer for us (horse included) to get warmed up. So, to make use of the warm up and not just have us mindlessly going in circles, we are asked to turn our horses with our seat and legs only. I have Ariel turn smaller circles at the far ends of the arena and weave throughout the arena. At walking pace, it's easy but as you move into a trot, you have to really be diligent about having things come together. To turn on (say) the right rein, we drop our right seat bone and push with our left leg. The purpose... the dropped seat gives the horse something to "pivot" around when they're turning and the outside leg is simply pushing them over. I manage some pretty nice circles.

Stopping without reins! Here, we're isolating our hips and tilting our weight from being evenly distributed on our 3 points in the seat and shift the weight into the back. Our hips also become a little more rigid and there is less movement with the horse/saddle. Success! Ariel stops when all these wonderful aids come together.

Canter is still not familiar for me and I don't ride it well enough to be confident about riding it freely. When we work on canter, I remember to use both my legs this time, when initiating the canter. Ariel must be excited today because she takes off and we go speeding around the arena. I do notice that time and again, if I'm not properly focused, I lose my proper alignment and my knees clench Ariel and she doesn't like that. So I actively have to remember that there is no pressure coming from my knees. We ride the canter well today and I even accomplish a nice (approximately) 20m circle at one end without falling out of the canter and keeping pace. It was so satisfying when that happened because it must have meant things had come together well enough to keep her going.

Our last exercise is the X-jump posting trot. My 2-point still suffers and my weight is heavy on her neck so I have to remember to push my bum out and support myself with my core muscles. I think my anticipation for the jump is really getting me screwed. I struggle with the reins, I pull back or I look down. I find it more difficult to do this during a posting trot because you have to anticipate when you're going to get into a 2-point. To make things a little more interesting, Ariel likes to cut the corners and she's already cutting the corners before the actual jump! One time we almost trotted into a ground pole and she had to deek so she wouldn't trot over it. I almost fell off of her! The little devil! Sheri says, "add flexion away from the turn, while going into it". A little better but note quite yet. I'll need to remember to do that with this mare since she likes to cut corners.

A lot of new tidbits that we worked on this lesson. Many technicalities that most people are not familiar with and don't have any idea what it all means. But it's incredibly satisfying learning, practicing and incorporating these things into the lesson!

Posting Diagonal Jar Tally: 4 x $2.00 = $8.00
To date: $37.00

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