Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lesson #77 & #78: The Proof is in the Pudding

Friday's lesson had a good build up to the eventual goal.

I started the lesson by jogging Ariel around the arena, on foot; I work to get me limbered up a bit. Once I climb on I start at a walk to get in the right mind set... breathing and ensuring that my posture was in the right places. Once I get into a good trot, Sheri has me focusing on lengthening and compressing Ariel's strides so that we can get a lengthened trot that is relaxed with her stretching and reaching forward. I also work on alternating between the compressed and lengthened tempo.

The next step is transferring the calm, lengthened trot into a calm lengthened canter. I take a few rounds large and since Ariel's mind-set is there, we successfully manage a composed canter that didn't look like something itched her leg and had her shooting forward. This is also the first time I learned the "simple change"

Working on the simple change just as the rider above is: with a figure 8 where you'd canter around the short end of the arena and then, instead of going big, you cut diagonally across the middle and transition down to a trot and then re-initiate the canter at the end of the diagonal. It's a lot tougher than it looks, that's for sure. Plus, I've still got to work on my gait transitions so that Ariel actually slows down when I ask her to and goes when I ask her to as well.

The last section of our lesson is where I work up to 3 low x-jumps set in succession of one another; this exercise is called "bounces" where the jumps are spaced just far enough that the horse is left with enough space to simply land on their front feet and then take off with their hind. It's a great exercise that is great to help you with a 2-point and your balance as a rider (and horse). I also noticed when my heel was actually lifting up and my weight was thus shifting. We end with a great round where Ariel decides to take the bounces in canter and then continue through! I admit, that was not something I was prepared for and certainly found myself  more flustered than when I felt in control at the trot! Nevertheless, it is an exhilarating feeling and when you get that crest release right too... it's brilliant.


Today, I woke up with Buckingham snoozing on my belly and when I tried to sit up, I notice my abs a little sore. I deduced that it could only be my lesson from yesterday because I didn't do anything else recently but couldn't figure out what it was that I did that would have caused it; there wasn't a single exercise that I could think of as there was nothing I worked on excessively.

It's a busy afternoon at the stable with a trillium show tomorrow! I'm not showing (not at that level!) but it's neat to see the stable abuzz with students prepping and braiding and getting in their last practice/lessons. +ADW and I have get into our lesson with Ariel and a new mare named Georgia--a  draft cross. After our usual warm-up, we got into our canter and went large around the arena. It was tougher today to keep Ariel in check and she was doing some unusual things... I'm sure it wasn't all her and I was likely pinching my knees or something else but geez, she was pretty unruly at times. I had to recollect several instances!

Our final goal was a low x-jump. Several times I ended up on her neck or I took off before she did or even got left behind. A big contrast to how good I felt, from yesterday's lesson! However, Sheri told me that I can't seem to get myself up fast enough after the landing and it has a lot to do with (wait for it...) my ab muscles! Or lack thereof :\ That's right folks, the proof is in the pudding... my jelly-belly.

I also lack a visual focal point when I jump and I tend to drop my gaze at the jump... which is no good b/c I don't have anything to 'ride towards'. But it's a lot going on at once so I'll take it one at a time... next lesson I'm aiming or a spot and meanwhile, I'll be inputting a LOT of core work to make me nice and strong and that should come with time.

Posting Diagonal Jar Tally: = 5 (2 lessons) x $2.00 = $10.00
To date: $111.00

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