So far, I’ve been riding a little over a year and a half, roughly 1 lesson a week. It’s a slow process when you only ride once a week, but I’ll take it! Discovering horses has been so amazing for me and I am so very happy I finally found something I can really be passionate about and totally not care that I am geeking out over like a little girl. My husband isn’t too fond of it all, especially considering the fact that horses were not part of the package when we started dating! He’s not into horses, doesn’t want to be into horses and would rather I was into pretty much anything else. Oh well. I love it. And I love the horse I get to lease in a few weeks, Sox.
Sox is actually a pony – he stands at exactly 14.2hh. He is going to be 20 this year, but as my trainer says, he’s built like a tank and shows no signs of slowing down whatsoever. He is healthy as a….horse (sorry, couldn’t help myself) and loves to work. He’s not a super affectionate guy, in fact he isn’t affectionate hardly at all, but he lets you know if you make him happy or piss him off. He especially loves to canter, go over trot polls, and jump. He used to do cross-country in his younger years but has been a great lesson pony for us small adults and kids for at least several years now. He’s been around the block, seen it all, and in general, is really laid back. He’s perfect for a beginner like me. He’s an all around horse and can do a little bit of everything, which is good because that’s what my training entails. I don’t have any aspirations of showing or eventing, just riding.
So back to what I came here to talk about – what I have done so far. I can walk-trot-canter ok. Not terrible, definitely not great, but just ok. My canter needs a lot of work still. I have jumped at three of my lessons – a couple 6 inch cavallettis, an 18 inch vertical single jump and then a double one (my trainer said it was the very beginnings of a little gymnastics!). No hurries on all that fancy stuff though. My sitting trot still needs more sitting and less bouncing. My right leg doesn’t perform as well as my left leg, while my left shoulder doesn’t stay where it is supposed to as well as my right shoulder does. My back and core are not as strong as I need them to be but we are slowly getting there.
Part of the reason I am leasing Sox this summer is so I can not only get to ride more, but also use riding to get stronger and in better shape. Some of my goals for this summer include:
- Improving my sitting trot
- Improving my canter (sitting the canter specifically)
- Learning to maintain the same speed of gaits (keep Sox going, especially around those corners) and
- Not cutting the corners when going around the arena – use that inside leg!
- Learning what a circle should feel like (20m circle)
- Keeping my back straight and tall (I always feel like I am leaning back when I am simply sitting tall)
- Building strength in my core so I can engage it better during my ride
- Work on transitions (I am not worried about making them look great, I just need them to function better for now)
- Breathing – I want to be aware of my breath while riding, keeping it calm and relaxed and not holding it
- Building my confidence in general on horseback. (off the horse, I am pretty confident)
- Learn more about horses in general- their care, their health, their nutrition, how to lunge, etc. My friend has already agreed to a few “lecture” sessions. 🙂
I am also excited to see what I do when I don’t have my instructor telling me what to do on the horse. Probably the first few times, I will waste a bunch of time just putzing around the arena, but that’s ok. I’ll get the hang of it eventually. I have a few ideas and I won’t be technically alone as I plan to always ride when others are at the barn – particularly my friend who also happens to be a trainer (free lessons anyone?)! My friend is very awesome about making me just get it done – so if she sees me using her as a crutch, she will nip that right in the butt. I am so looking forward to this lease and my time off. I am totally nervous, but it’s the positive, good kind of nervous. Hopefully, the same kind of nervous that propels me into getting things done.