Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lesson #131: Stop Thinking, Just Do

It's the last Sunday class before "the big day". G's in class today so that likely means we're doing some jumping. +ADW is riding Bonspiel and isn't too sore from his fall last weekend and things look good. I warm up with Ariel with the intention that we focus on riding deep in the corners and keep a straight line when we're tracking around. I also want to keep Ariel focused on what we're doing at the moment since she tends to get distracted easily--especially if there is another horse outside.

Ariel, when there is another horse that walks by outside.

The next step was to get into the canter and go large while focusing on getting a controlled pace for the duration of the canter exercise. Nothing nutty or crazy, just focus on getting control and keeping it. It definitely is a "conversation" that a rider has with their mount; I have to relay to Ariel what I want and confirm with her, if she's understanding me correctly. If not, then she'll (in this case) take over with the sentiment "um... kay. Don't worry, you can count on me to get this done." Since she's a dominant mare, she's quick to take that role of leader if nobody else is going to step up.

Our next exercise is getting us ready for a course. Sheri has told us time and again, don't over think it: a jump is just another stride. She's got 4 ground poles laid out around the arena in a small course; there are 2 potential broken lines we could take depending on what she asks of us. She has G and I take the poles at a canter while ADW went at a trot. So from what I deemed as in control at the flat canter exercise, this just makes life complicated! There was need for lots of half halts and slowing Ariel down just a bit--especially when she sped up on the approach to the gate but apparently her pace was pretty good and I was not in fact racing around. I felt like we were racing around but Sheri said that if there's one thing she hates, is people racing around the course and that Ariel and I didn't do that. I guess I'll need to get used to the pace that she goes at... That said though, the execution of the flat course was far from perfect and I need to continue working on keeping Ariel from falling in at corners, and riding straight instead of cutting corners. But, the angles in were pretty good.

There was one instance where I thought I might come tumbling off... Ariel took a pole and I seem to have lost my balance and lost the right rein and she was heading straight into the wall! I had to scrambling to grab those reins and (you guessed it!) sit up. That was definitely a close call. Ensuring that my hands are nice and closed on the reins is another thing to keep in mind. Until the next lesson!

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