Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lesson #148: Improvement, However Subtle

It's started snowing north of the GTA. I only count "snowing" if the snow remains on the ground and on Thursday, there was at least 3-4 inches. *sigh* This means I might have to cut back my riding lessons to once a week again until the weather becomes more agreeable. Why? I drive up highway 10 and this past winter, I've witnessed some really unnerving situations where drivers end up in the ditches or worse. In the meantime, let's get the tires changed and see how things go from there.

My lesson starts with some lateral bending work at the walk: haunches or shoulder in and leg yields. To get the shoulder in, we're reminded to keep our hips straight, turn your upper body inwards and take the inside leg further back while keeping the other leg just slightly behind the girth. It should look like this while travelling straight forward:

The opposite is basically true for haunches in. This move is not easily achieved but we do get it every now and again and we're told that it takes time for the horses as well, to be able to consistently do it. But, we aim to get there and keep at it.

After a trot warm up, I'm told to get into canters and do lots of transitions around as the other students continue to work at the haunches and shoulder in, at the trot and keeping their horse in frame. For some reason, things flow really well today. The trot and the canter were both flowing and relaxed and I felt like I had control of what was happening. Even the transitions were smoother than usual and I was able to initiate (more) accurately the transitions.

The last series of exercises jumps--specifically a course. There is a series of jumps set up from the last lesson that J had with his and Sheri's instructor that was basically a single jump across the center from E to B and then on the ends, 2 jumps on each side that were fanning out so it looked like an extended "X" from above. I was taking a few jumps as singles and at the posting trot and as things progressed, we moved to take 3 of them as a mini course. As I was doing things, I continued to struggle with getting myself back up after the jump. So I had to continually tell myself to sit up sit up after the jump. It isn't consistent enough, yet. But, the fact is, I did manage to canter the mini course and the majority of the times, the ride in and out was pretty good. I have to continue to work on my body position over the jump and after to make it consistent but with time, that would come. The main thing I was happy about this time was that nothing felt like a speeding around the arena at top speed... I was able to tell Ariel where I wanted to go before we got there so our communication was much clearer and she was thus landing on the correct leads, taking off at a good distance and turning the right ways, following a jump.

I'm really excited to continue to work on improving things in my future lessons!

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