Week of May 26, 2014

This week I rode Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  My lesson was on Thursday.  It was awesome riding three days in a row and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to do so this summer!

Tuesday and Wednesday I just kept it pretty simply.  I stuck to a pretty standard warm up and then worked on the basics without getting to deep into any one thing.  At this point I am really just trying to log more hours in the saddle.  I am only going to make small improvements on my own, but I can gain confidence on my own.  Sox and I worked on trotting, two point, circles, and a little cantering.  We decided to try cantering from a walk instead of a trot Tuesday and Wednesday.  The reason for this is because the seat position of a nice forward walk feels a lot like the seat of a sitting canter and I thought maybe that might help me in the canter overall since I wouldn’t be trying to manage myself from the trot.  It worked a little and after mentioning it to my trainer, she agreed that it couldn’t hurt to try.

For my lesson on Thursday, we worked on opening my shoulders up into the turn, but more specifically keeping them straight on the straightaways.  We also worked on loosening my lower back.  Funny enough, there was a post about these exact two things made by a blog I follow this week!  I have a tendency to start out ok and then after a few cycles, I just throw it all away!  But, by the halfway point in my lesson, I felt my body letting go and starting to relax into the proper position finally.  I could hold it all together a little longer each time.  We are really working on me figuring out how to “fix” things while keeping the horse moving.  For example, in the canter, if I start hunching forward, or I lose my stirrup, I need to fix both of those things while maintaining the canter!  It’s difficult, and especially so because Sox generally comes to a stop if he notices that his rider is totally unbalanced.  Which can be a nice thing, but I need to work those things out!!

We did a little jumping too.  We changed it up a little this time as well.  The last few times, she has had me using a jump set up on the short side of the arena with several trot poles leading up to the jump.  This time, we used a jump on the long side of the arena (which we have used before) but we only had one pole in front of the jump.  The first time I tried trotting up to and over the jump, Sox broke into a canter before the jump and went over and we cantered around the bend and then back down to a trot.  I will be honest, I wasn’t expecting the canter over the jump.  It was the first time I have cantered over the jump and it did surprise me a little bit.  My trainer said that although I was obviously surprised, I didn’t get in Sox’s way too badly.

So now that I knew Sox was likely to canter into the jump, I was a little better prepared.  The goal was to trot up to the jump, let Sox jump it, and canter away and then transition into a trot at the corner before the jump and then repeat.  We did it a few times and each time was a little bit better.  I am getting better at letting the horse do his thing.  I know Sox knows how to jump.  He is not a green horse and does not need me to help him over the jump.  And that is not my job at this point.  My job is learn how to stay on the horse over the jump without getting in his way.  I am focusing on my body position, and allowing my body to bend and fold and whatnot as needed.

Funny enough, I am able to relax much more over a jump than I can at the canter.  Of course, a jump is over in just a few seconds, whereas the canter is an extended activity.  It’s easy to be zen for those few seconds, but there is just too much to concentrate on in the canter, but I am working on it!

I am going with my trainer to a horse show on Sunday.  They are there all weekend, but I can make it just the one day.  I am not participating/competing, but Sox is and several people from the barn are. This will be the first show I attend, and I am looking forward to it!!

Well, until next time, Happy Riding!!

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