My lesson was today and it was great. Usually I lesson at the end of the week, but schedules worked out differently this week. Lots of shoulder back today. I was very slouch-y today and I knew it going into the lesson that my right side would be worse than my left side. I even warned my trainer that my right leg and my shoulder were just feeling icky and off-balanced today. But we worked through it.
For the last few months leading up to the beginning of my lease, I have felt that I was making hardly any improvements…not that I wasn’t actually improving, but I wasn’t having any of those A-Ha! moments. I sort of “plateaued” for a bit there, I suppose. Today, however, I had an A-HA! moment and it was lovely! It was during the sitting trot! I could feel what I was supposed to feel and was really able to flow with the horse, keeping my lower back and inner thighs soft, while keeping my lower leg ON the horse and using my outer thigh for support. All at the same time I was also stretching up tall and keeping my shoulders back and not leaning forward….. Ahh… It was so nice and lovely for the minute or so that it lasted. I came close to achieving it again when we circled the other way in the sitting trot, but it wasn’t the same. I had an even shorter glimpse of it last week, a couple seconds here and there throughout the week. I know for sure what I am supposed to feel, so even though I doubt I will achieve much of it on my own, I should recognize whether it’s correct or not by how I feel in the saddle. It feels good when it’s right. (duh).
My calves are finally figuring out where they are supposed to be, and my legs are mostly in the proper position, most of the time. I am working on getting my hips more supple. I lock them in place too often. Today, she had me practice letting my hip open and close. We did some regular trot and walk, and then some in two-point. Then, she had me really exaggerate the movement by having me get into two-point and then basically lay down on Sox’s neck. I sucked at it for the longest time, lol. I couldn’t keep my balance and would pinch with my knees, grip with my thighs, bring my heels up, etc. My body has a very hard time with letting go.
It was interesting because there was another girl riding in the ring today and her upper body wasn’t right either, but for a different reason. She was pumping with her body (hips, arms, core), trying to move the horse with her body…whereas I tend to get behind the motion of the horse because I am trying to let the horse move ME but in the process of waiting for the horse to move, I don’t move either (and subsequently fall behind). As I wait for the movement to happen, I get locked in place. I am finally beginning to actually understand the cons of my body position – as well as how they negatively affect Sox. My trainer told me that it was weird that I didn’t do that in my jumping (fall behind the motion). I told her it’s because I can find my Zen in the jump – the jump itself only takes a few seconds – I can let go for short bursts of time – so I can relax and flow – over the jump. But maintaining that Zen, that ability to “let go” and relax and flow for extended periods of time (like during canter and trot) is just too much for my un-enlightened mind. (lol).
We did a little canter today – nothing crazy – although I did cut the ring in half and was able to do a circle using half the arena in addition to the whole arena lap. I have trouble making turns and doing circles in the canter – I get nervous and tense…either causing or caused by my incorrect body position (which throws everything off). But today, it went great. I had good transitions (besides the very first one, but I handled that one well too). I was able to make my laps complete and transition back into a trot that didn’t have me flopping all over.
Overall, I felt good about my riding today. We had a great end to the day as well. I gave Sox his bath and used his special shampoo on his mane and forelock. I have figured out that if I use the hose with no nozzle, with the water flow really low, he doesn’t get quite as freaked out about the water near his face and top of his head. Which is exactly where he needs his special shampoo… So we had a mostly calm bath and hosing down. He looks so clean – he’s one of the cleaner horses at the barn because I wash him every week – I can’t say that about most of the other horses. Speaking of other horses, Lily is overdue for another bath from me. Maybe I will introduce my sister to her Friday… After our bath, Sox and I walked around the barn and just spent some time together while he grazed. It was super relaxing. Here are some pictures I took of us just hanging out.
I am trying to get as much out of my trainer as possible right now since she is getting ready to have her baby ANY time now. I have another trainer I can use, a friend of mine, while my trainer is out because of baby, but I don’t work as well with my friend as I do my trainer. I will be having an easy day either wednesday or thursday to practice some of this stuff, plus a more serious riding day on Friday. My sister is coming to watch me ride and play with the horses on Friday, so that will be fun. I am going to see if I can get her to record me riding so I can cringe as I watch it, lol. Plus we are bringing one of my dogs, Leeloo, to the barn to see how she does around the horses. I really have no idea what to expect from her regarding them, so it ought to be interesting.
Well, Happy Riding, see you next time!!