Saturday, January 4, 2014

Lesson #67: Toolbox Check

It's a return after 2 weeks of no riding; due to the ice storm that hit the Toronto and surrounding areas. The lesson focused on us getting back into the groove of things; I like Sheri's approach of taking our time and going nice and slow since it's not a sport that anyone can get really good at, after a few lessons. This is a make up lesson and we head in again tomorrow. It's nice to have a break from the deep freeze we've been hit with, where temperatures drop down to -20C and that's before the wind-chill; and of course, it's several degrees colder in Hillsburgh, Ontario.

To accomplish this, we spend most of the time 'suppling' our horses' bodies through lots of relaxed trot and tonnes of circles. There were 4 horses in the arena today and of course, my horse Ariel seems to hate at least 2 of them. I have to be wary of my intention of direction and spacing more than usual. We are reminded that our primary mode of moving our horse is through our bodies: legs and seat, before using our reins. Reins should be a last resort to get a horse to turn, move over or even stop. I try to loosen my hips by relaxing them and just letting my lower body move with the horse while keeping my upper body tall.

My cardio isn't too bad as I don't tire as easily however, the endurance of the rest of my muscles lack and I'm reminded that if something goes off the rails, I have to go through my mental riding toolbox and reflect about what I might have missed. Sheri comments that my lower leg is looking solid today and isn't flapping about. But, my upper half suffers with flapping arms (at the canter), tense wrists and elbows, rounding shoulders and stiffness in my hips. And right on cue, once I review all the points, things come right together and Ariel's head relaxes forward and her body loosens up.

I have the opportunity to canter today, and I find my seat feeling very secure and when I remind myself to relax further, both Ariel and I seem to come together better and I'm able to do some nice circles at the canter.

Despite my poor posting diagonal jar performance, it was a good ride!

Posting Diagonal Jar Tally: 7 x $2.00 = $14.00
To date: $61.00

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