Monday, September 14, 2015

Lessons #205, #206, #207: Reinvigorating Goals and Direction

There isn't much to write about with the last few lessons other then I've been working on addressing the right side issue that we discovered 2 weeks back. I try to ride with my right hip relaxes and the leg "falling outwards" so I can keep that in check. It seems that once that hip pulls my right leg in, the rest of my right side follows and that's where the curling inwards comes from. So my lessons are mostly me making the conscious effort to go through the check list at all gaits:

  1. Weight in the heels/heels down
  2. Right hip open and relaxed so the thigh is off the saddle
  3. Hips and lower back relaxed to absorb the movement
  4. Chest open and shoulders back and 'down'
  5. Looking in the direction I am turning, even for corners
  6. Shoulders following my head turn
  7. Sitting back/up
Things are coming together more as I am making the conscious effort to ensure that the hip doesn't allow my right leg to collapse. It's really easy to get handsy in the corners instead of using my seat to push Ariel back out and on the right bend.

On Thursday, there were 2 other students in my class and one of them is still working up to getting comfortable with things so it was a good opportunity to focus on flat work. I felt ambitious (though to be honest, I did tell myself I needed to use the time more efficiently) and started weaving in and out of the bending poles that were just standards set in a line. This exercise is difficult even at the walk because you want to use your seat to turn them and not your hands/reins. 

The warm-up consisted of a series of different tasks that for some reason, I felt very comfortable flowing from one to the next...
  • Posting trot with and without stirrups
  • Sitting trot with and without stirrups
  • Adding 2 point position
  • Cantering with and without stirrups
  • Cantering in a 2 point position
  • I even managed to sort myself out to pick up and drop stirrups during canter! A feat that usually leaves me tight and bouncy
On Sunday, I had +ADW pick what we'd do since I usually get to pick on Thursday nights already and I wasn't feeling particularly nervous about anything. I'm glad the picked an over fences lesson because I had done quite a few flat classes recently. We did things pretty low key and kept the jumps low so to get a better feel of the horses' movement over jumps. The lesson went quite well in that we were jumping the course and ended on the highest jump that was set out there at around 2'3" to 2'6". It wasn't pretty which simply means I need to continue working up on the things that I am doing at the lower heights so I am more solid.

Areas of improvement include, but are not limited to:
  • Sitting back up between jumps
  • Shift our hips back instead of jumping with the horse, over jumps
  • Using the space in the arena better so we can appropriately set ourselves up for the jumps
  • Looking early for the jump
  • Drive with our butts coming into the jump
Hopefully I'll be as diligent with my most recent lessons, for the coming ones so I can continue to improve upon the things I lack. In addition, I am going to be starting ScarletPen's 30 day bottom challenge to address a possible weak backside and start getting in a 45-60 minute yoga session 2-3 times a week. And now that the weather is cooled down, it might not be a bad idea to jump on my bike...


  1. I have been going through that same checklist A LOT recently... especially the shoulders back. They sound like productive lessons, it is good that you know what is going well and what needs some work.

    1. totally. i am a little worried that one of these days, i'm going to end up on my face if i don't keep those shoulders back.... good luck with your lessons!! :)

  2. Even though I'm not at your level (there is no "between jumps" for me yet), I find these lists really helpful! I am just learning courses (ground poles) and using the arena space and looking early are going to be important.

    Also excited for cooler weather! Tired of being a sweaty mess after riding!

    1. i'm glad! i am trying to write posts that are more helpful for beginners or other novice riders who are experiencing similar issues as a desk jockey. because most of us are doing that during the day.

      hooray for not being as sweaty as our horses!! :P