Someday, I’ll stop giving away my outside rein. It will probably be when my ashes are being tossed into the wind…or ocean…or whatever the survivors feel like doing with them.
Today was my first lesson in months. It was the one I won in the CANTER auction, and so a new instructor. It was a good lesson, but the first few lessons with a new instructor are often hard because everyone has a slightly different way of warming up, getting the horse through the training pyramid. By this, I mean slightly different emphasis on different aids…and of course it is different based upon the horse you are riding that day as well. And….as a result, frequently the first lesson with a new person is largely a walk-trot lesson. Like today, and it was a good lesson.
Keep that outside rein consistent. I hear this over and over and over. You would think that the sheer cost of paying people to say this would be enough incentive to teach my body to channel Nike and JUST DO IT! I have my string on my saddle, but I still give away the outside rein. Oh, I like to think I’ve improved. I think I have reduced the amount I’m throwing it away. But, still, I need to get a grip on it….quite literally.
Every once in a while, I take a lesson and some phrase or way of saying what to do just works. Today, the phrase that my brain followed was, “Follow your hands with your shoulders.”. Now, my shoulders are tight. In that Balimo clinic in February, when we started to address my locked up shoulders, my hands got better, and I’ve struggled for years with getting my back/shoulders/arms…oh hell, entire body to do what I want, when I want, without tension. Coordination…I have it in spades…I also have some oceanside property in Florida for interested takers.
Require prompt response to the forward aids. Hind legs need to respond to my leg. I work too hard, Bali doesn’t work hard enough. I know this. Again, I like to think this has gotten better, but there is a long ways to go before I reach the nirvana of forward.
Require the horse to bend around the inside leg, at the girth. I allow my lower leg to slip back too often (this would be both dressage and jumping). Keep the leg at the girth…not 6-8″ back. Keep my aids more consistent. I tend to ask, get some response, possibly a good response, but then I leave that concept for the next thing. The long list of things to do, do well, and at the right time while riding is daunting. It takes a long time for something to become a habit, or to have the right muscle memory. It takes a lot of repetition of someone telling you the same thing. Without mirrors or video or pictures or an instructor my proprioception is not where I’d like it to be.
Step into your stirrups, at the walk, stand in your stirrups without altering your balance, not two point. This one was good. I need to practice this, get better at it, as it helps me lighten my seat, the trot got fluffier, I stayed with the horse better during mediums, etc. Oh, it is hard. I want to do two point. It was even harder on Sparkle, but easier on Tanqueray.
More transitions…make that more good transitions (nothing new here, but somehow, even though it is a simple concept, it is hard to execute well).
Now I have tons to practice…but now, I need to go to the garden center to buy some plants, pick up my tractor, drag the ring, do some laundry, find something to eat. Spring is here, farms are busy in the spring…and mowing season hasn’t even started.