Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lesson #147: Sit Back... Far Back

It was Remembrance Day on Tuesday and certain Canadians get the day off... those working in banks or government. I decided that I would use the day to clean up a few things at home and take a lesson (to make up for one I'm missing in December). I still prefer heading out to the stable during the day because going in the evenings is just more stressful. I always wonder how people who go regularly, manage it. Well, those who have up to an hour drive out, to get there.

Hi Deb, did you know that the last naked day of the season calls for celebration in the mud?

J harrows the arena footing so it's fluffy and light. I start a warm up that I'm going to regret... lots of rising and seated trot. Especially seated trot going round and round and round :| The objective is for me to focus on keeping Ariel straight and off the rail. Sheri tells me that I need to lean back... well, what feels like would be leaning back because I have a tendency to lean forward even at the trot! Which is the exact problem I've been struggling with for several lessons now.

To highlight this, I'm told to tuck my tail bone under me, ensure my navel is facing forward and lift and open my chest forward and sit back as if I feel like I'm going to lean right on over the back of the saddle at the sit trot. Take my feet out of the stirrups. Keep my upper body steady and release my hips and lower body to move with Ariel. Guess what? I'm straight now. It's amazing how far back I need to "sit" in order to be aligned. Next, I'm told to push Ariel into the canter. It initially feels really laboured on Ariel's part and she broke out of canter quickly too. It was frustrating, actually. But, I'm sure it was on me because the last lesson's canters were perfect. The suspicion was that the footing was fluffier so it was like running through the sand. To keep her going and from falling in at the corners, I had to pulsate my inside leg during the "up" in the stride, to keep her going and in the corners--it's definitely a lot of work on my part but it certainly made a big difference in terms of keeping her going and in the corners.

I'm reminded that I started out with nearly no contact in Ariel's mouth and that now that both Ariel and I have progressed in our respective training, I needed to take more of a handle on her mouth and get her "on the bit". I should get a light contact in the reins and continue to communicate with her by that means. It isn't easy because if I jossle the reins, she refuses to accept the contact and raises her head and I'm left with nothing except shortening my reins.

The last exercise starts out as a jump followed by a ground pole that is about 1 stride out. I trot in to take the jump and subsequent ground pole but I can't get over it without either being left behind, having the reins yanked out of my hands or landing on her neck. Sheri reminds me that I need to push Ariel at the base of the jump and then again, in between the jump and the pole. We try a few more times and the first jump is coming together but the ground pole turned jump, isn't. BUT! The last time around, I don't know why or what went right in my head but something clicked and I sat right up after the second jump. Really, the feeling is great, when you get it!

To finish my afternoon, I got the opportunity to watch Sheri and J ride with their coach which was really amazing to be able to watch those who have been riding for a long time, to see what right things they do, and even the wrong things so I know what not to do, in addition to what I should do! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment