Recovering from my fall

Friday I had a lesson.  It would be the first time back on Sox since my fall on Wednesday.  I know most people say I should have gotten back on as soon as possible, preferably on Wednesday, but I was just way too wobbly.  I was a little worried that I would be anxious about riding again but I actually wasn’t.

We had already planned to do a lunge line lesson before my fall, but I think knowing that I would be starting out on the lunge line may have calmed any nerves I already had.  I know I can still fall off while on the line because my only other fall off the horse was on the lunge line!  😉    I really felt that I made a lot of progress Friday though.  I was able to really learn what my legs should feel like when they are in the right position and how I should feel when I am sitting straight (I feel like I am leaning back actually).  I also found out that I tend to lean out to the left no matter which direction I am traveling.  If left is on the outside, it’s even worse!!

So we did lots of trotting Friday.  On the line we did posting and sitting trot and really worked on me finding the proper balance.  Once we got off the lunge line, I worked on doing those same things around the arena.  I could feel the difference from what I was doing on Wednesday to what I was doing on Friday.  Hopefully I will be able to pull my stuff together on Tuesday when I go riding and do it correctly then too!

We finished up the lesson with some canter.  Because of my fall the other day, I was definitely aware of not hunching my shoulders forward, but apparently I still lean forward with my belly.  So we worked on getting me into the proper position and getting a clean transition.  When it finally came together, it came together so smoothly!!  I had to ask a few times to get it though.  The first few times I was throwing all my weight to the outside without meaning too, so he started out on the wrong lead.  The next few times, he just went faster at the trot.  So I worked on keeping my weight even and staying straight.  I tend to turn out my hips apparently!  Once we straightened me out (for the most part), I trotted a few decent circles and was able to pick up the canter on the correct lead and make an entire lap around the arena!  Yay!  We had already gone over our hour and she had to take her son to camp, so we called it quits on that good ending and I cooled out Sox after that.

Afterwards, I spent some time with Sox just sharing my gatorade and letting him graze.  He was actually pretty nice to me and almost cuddly.  🙂  Another girl at the barn there, one that has known Sox since he came to the barn, told me how much she can tell he likes me.  That made me feel good, because I am still learning his personality and although it is clear when he does NOT like someone, i didn’t know if I had passed out of the neutral zone or not.  She also complimented me on how good he is looking – usually this time of the year, he has an awful looking itchy scratchy mess on his face and neck, but I have really been keeping up with it!  So that was pretty nice.  She also told me that I am making really good progress and that if I keep it up, she thinks I will be ready to ride Lily by the end of the summer!  I don’t know if I agree with her assessment on the Lily riding, but still, made me feel good.

Speaking of Lily, I took her out Friday too and groomed her a bit.  She really needs another bath and a real good scrubbing.  She is starting to look forward to our weekly dates though.  When I walk by her pasture, she trots over to the gate and snorts at me!  When I don’t get her out, she gets visibly unhappy with me!  Makes me feel special.  Maybe I can encourage my trainer and her assistant to put the time in on her again so she can be ride-ready soon!

Happy Riding!



A Rainy Lesson

I had a lesson today.  Over the winter, I have taken to riding in the afternoon so that my son and my trainer/barn owner’s daughter can play together for a few hours, but now that summer is here I am riding in the mornings.  There are two reasons for that: the first being that we live in Florida so it’s HOT and that means it’s hotter in the afternoon than in the morning; and the second reason being that in the summer here, it rains most afternoons, so if I want to stay dry and not ride in a mud pit, I have to ride earlier in the day.  Well, today, it simply rained on and off all day.  The arena still looked good though and when I arrived at the barn, there was a break in the rain.

My son riding Sox around Christmas time.  He was finally starting to make some progress in his posting and keeping his heels down at this point.

My son riding Sox around Christmas time. He was finally starting to make some progress in his posting and keeping his heels down at this point.

I was early to my lesson today, so while my trainer worked with another student, I got Sox all ready.  He is shedding like no one’s business and when I went to rub his forehead he started rubbing against my hand, so I just held it still and he moved his head all over the place on my hand and little hairs just went flying everywhere.  So, I curried him really good before getting him tacked up and then we headed out to the arena.  I decided to get warmed up on my own since I didn’t know when the rain would return.  I actually was able to get Sox to pick up a nice forward trot pretty quickly, which felt good.  Until I found out he hadn’t been ridden all week so he was just probably feeling a little extra peppy because of that.  Oh well, still felt nice.  I decided to drop my stirrups and work on my sitting trot while I waited for my lesson.  I even posted a bit sans stirrups (damn that’s hard – my thighs will certainly get into shape if I keep that kind of work up this summer).  I practiced keeping Sox on the rail and not letting him cut the corners and then worked on some trot-walk-trot transitions and some walk-halt transitions.

My trainer decided it was time for me to practice on the lunge line today, which is cool because I was just thinking that it had been some time since I had been on the lunge line and that it probably wouldn’t hurt to do that soon.  So I did lots more posting the trot and sitting the trot, and doing 2-point in the trot.  I am really working on getting my lower leg to be still and to actually feel the horse with my calf.  I have gotten to the point where I can feel the difference between right and wrong approximately half of the time.  Developing the feel of what’s right is a goal of mine at the moment.  And it can be frustrating when I can feel that I am not quite right, but no matter what I do, I just can’t fix it!  I know it comes with time, and I will get there.  🙂

We also worked on my posture.  I am much much better than I used to be, but I still have a long way to go on this.  Overall, I tend to tense up or lock up my joints so that I can’t move with the horse.  This usually means that I will start out sitting nice and tall, but because I am either locking my knee or my hips, I end up rocking in my seat and usually leaning forward.  I know why Sox is used for the kids, I watched him with my son (when my son was still riding) and if you get off balance on him, particularly on the line, he will stop.  So this means that every time I pitched forward today, even a little, Sox would stop, or try to stop.  So it was a very good indicator when I wasn’t sitting tall.

It started raining half way through our lesson, but we kept on for a bit longer in the rain since it wasn’t pouring or lightning out.  Sox wasn’t too pleased with us for that, but we all lived through it.  I cannot wait to be riding more frequently.  It’s been two weeks since my last lesson and whenever I have that long between lessons I always feel like I have forgotten how to do everything in between, although today wasn’t as bad as usual.  But when I can ride a few times a week, I know I will be able to actually practice the things I do with my trainer and make some progress.  The owner of Sox is actually pretty busy coming up here, so pretty much for the first half of the summer, I can ride Sox whenever I want since she won’t be, but I am working out scheduling with my trainer and one of my friends so that I am not out there riding alone.  My friend has been my trainer in the past as well, and teaches some other students at the same barn and is BFF”s with the barn owner/my trainer, so I am feeling pretty good about going on there “on my own”.   .

We ended our lesson a little early, but it was starting to rain a bit harder and we were pretty soaked.  I got Sox all cleaned up and fed him a couple carrots.  I let my trainer know that I was interested in not just being that student who comes out, rides the horse and then leaves.  I want to learn about more than just how to sit on top of the horse without falling off – I want to learn about the horse itself, his care, and all that.  Which I told her translates to mean that she has some willing hands for helping this summer.  As long as she tells me about what we are doing and teaches me along the way.  To which she agreed, of course.

Next week I have a lesson on friday, and then a couple of commitments for work the following week, but then my lease begins!!  🙂  Yay!!  I almost forgot to write this today…hopefully I get better at summing up my lessons more and don’t stay so long-winded.  Either way, it was a good day and I am exhausted!!