Monday, January 5, 2015

Lesson #154: First Lesson of the New Year

I'm going to take it all as practice.

My lesson yesterday was (let's say) challenging. The day prior, +ADW and I pulled out the carpet of our new house. The house itself is not new so needed some TLC to bring it up to code and make it our own. I looked up the methods to pull up carpet and also consulted a colleague who is big on home improvements. All the sources I sought were highly informative and encouraging about what needed to be done. The only thing they didn't mention was that I'd be sore for the following days because of all the squatting, up and down stairs, the pulling and rolling and carrying... By the time our lesson came around, I was struggling to walk at a pace faster than snail speed and stand up straight.

I thought that things would be okay even though I did start with a bit of apprehension. I'm also warned that Ariel's been moody and that the ride might be just "enh, okay". The warm up was already an indication of things to come when I found myself struggling to keep Ariel deep in the corners of the arena. We're also told that our lesson plan is grid work. We move to canter and continue to get ourselves warmed up further; more difficulty ensues from Ariel. At this point, I'm having difficulty keeping my seat balanced appropriately.

Gimme carrots

By the time we move onto the exercise at hand, I was pretty apprehensive about it. Our first task is to canter through 3-4 ground poles and then take a turn back to the start. Control and decisiveness all went to crap and Ariel nearly bucks me off several times (I'm still surprised I didn't topple over her head!) at the end of the line. Now, it's not her fault completely because I'm leaning forward, my legs are who knows where and I've given control to Ariel without clear instructions in advance. On her, she should have been more forgiving (okay, I probably would have done similarly) to my poor execution since it's you know, a typical novice rider issue. I felt completely out of control again and it wasn't that I was going much faster than I've gone before but without control, it was hella scary up there. I am told to sit up, keep my chest open and up and to keep my weight back and low as I am going into the line and take a 2 point over everything and start slowing her down as I'm finishing the line and looking the direction I want to go, in advance. I also added in a small 10-20m (it was not really either...) circle before the line to get her attention and slow her down a bit.

The subsequent passes are better but she still speeds a bit. J tells me to put both reins in my outside hand and the other behind my back as I go over with 2 point. Progressively, as things are starting to look up (a bit), the poles are turned into low X jumps and finally a horizontal. Things are "better" but certainly this is not one of my better rides. I don't even get a break during the cool down: I decide to jossle my hips by riding without stirrups only to have Ariel bolt (and me yelp) as some ice slides off the roof. Hopefully this is not an indication of things to come for 2015.


  1. Oh boy, what a way to kick off the year! Good for you sitting through those bucks and a big spook. I would blame mares but my experience in the summer shows geldings can be crazy jerks too, so I won't make any generalizations, haha!!

    1. thanks! i think they're all a little nutty... like us! everyone has good or bad days so it's just what it is, i suppose. i would much rather though, that when i'm sore and tired, Ariel was a little more tolerant..... one can wish...