Monday, January 20, 2014

Lesson #70: Practising with Purpose

We were lucky yesterday; we made it in before the snow started coming down. I rode a new horse: Quinn. She's a beautiful (and big) paint Dutch Warmblood with a white mane and a black tail. She's such a sweet mare and is certainly more go than whoa. I found the feel of her trot in between Ariel's and Bonspiel's and had a much easier time than the lesson with Bons. The only thing I had to keep aware is her desire to speedy around the arena. She's sensitive to aids and reacts quickly when asked and is chomping at the bit. I have to slow her trot pace down every time I initiate trot!

We do lots of flat work crossing over and changing direction and transitioning. For me, the main purpose is to get accustomed to Q. Figuring her out and getting used to the way she does things. I find out that Ariel is in love with Q and just adores being around her... and we had in the arena, Bons, Q and Ariel. It was super cute to watch Ariel march at the same pace as Quinn when they met while walking the long side... and you see that feisty Ariel head held high and quickly keeping pace with Quinn's long legs.

I do find it difficult to bring Quinn back, after she's started to speed up so I test the amount of pressure she needs, to initiate the trot from walk as I had been a little overzealous in one instance and we took right off. I also test the half halts required, to get her to slow her pace. Since I spend a lot of the class learning about Quinn, I forget a lot of my other equitation type things like posture. I tended to lean forward when she sped up pinch with my knees. All things I need to watch for always.

We did try seated trot and when I was being told to do this or don't do that, I literally felt like I was being pulled in different directions: loosen and relax my hips and legs yet maintain weight going through my heel. Add the open chest and sit up and "back" (well, I was leaning forward so really, that's just sitting up straight in the saddle) so I'm basically loosey goosey in my lower half and then intentionally firm above. All the while, absorbing the movement from the horse by letting it "wave up" through my body and out my head. Don't forget the silent and soft hands with firm elbows. There is seriously a lot going on. Oh, and stay on.

We did try a burst of canter but I was warned that she tends to pony trot first so clear and strong directions are important. I was not really prepared for her canter and it was not as good as it could have been. I also haven't figured out how quite to slow down a canter without transitioning down into the trot. I think I'll need to learn to have her 'collect' her canter a bit more, for that to happen. We haven't worked too much on that in canter yet.

Easily, I will need more time to practice with Quinn to get better acquainted with the way she responds to aids. I really look forward to riding her again in the future!

Posting Diagonal Jar Tally: = 2 x $2.00 = $4.00
To date: $71.00

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