Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Riding

Thankfully, Hurricane Earl did not do any damage to Virginia – just kindly stayed offshore for the most part and rained on the the ocean. A sigh of relief from me. Just a few more months until hurricane season is over for the year. I do wish they could figure out how to disarm hurricanes totally, perhaps drop something in from the hurricane planes, and the hurricane would just circle around a few more times, and then- whoosh! – disappear totally. Or if we could steer some of the rain, but not the damaging winds, to those parts of the country that need rain….

A Private Lesson

Saturday I had a private lesson with the BO on the canter. Why are we having such difficulty with our turns, and therefore with our circling? After she watched me canter, and saw what I am doing, she gave me three excellent pointers: Move my shoulders back a few inches (to open up the leg angle), keep my hands lower (I am unconsciously raising my reins as I ride, which is inadvertently shortening the reins on Buckshot) and continue giving leg aid on the turn (since he is slowing down to a trot on the corners, partially because I am shortening the reins, thus signaling him to slow down). I have developed a tiny bit of seat position muscle memory enabling me to not have to think so much about my seat.

When I consciously employed her suggestions, we rode all the way around the arena, at a nice, fairly controlled pace. It was wonderful! It is harder to do in the opposite direction, but I will continue to practice these suggestions. Especially the moving my shoulders back. When I did so, it felt like I was behind the horse, and I told her that. But that is just my feeling, and it is an incorrect feeling- I am not behind him, I am at a better position. So I will use that feeling – of being behind the horse – to signal me that my position is better. Eventually, it will feel more natural.

It is invaluable to have an expert watch me ride, and offer specific tips, because they can accurately see what I am doing, and when I am doing it, while all I can do (at this point in my riding) is feel what I am doing. It is so easy to continue doing the wrong thing, or the slightly wrong thing, when riding. An expert’s eyes are a big help.

On Sunday, we had another reining clinic – great! We worked on guiding the horse with neck reining techniques, at all three gaits. On Monday, we had a trail ride followed by a picnic. There were some inexperienced horses and riders on the trail ride, but fortunately, no accidents. When we all made it back to the barn, safe and sound, I was extremely proud of Buckshot and his steady, calm demeanor. He is worth his weight in gold to me!


Kate said...

Sounds great - having a good set of eyes on the ground really helps!

Carol said...

Great lesson by the sound of things. I tend to feel I'm upright when in fact I'm behind the horse - the opposite of you :) It's funny how our mind and bodies aren't always lined up. I can really see the progress you're making in reading your posts. Great!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog. I LOVE the title of your blog. So true!

Glad Earl didn't turn out to be much trouble. My stepdaughter was in Richmond last week and happy that it didn't ruin her visit with family. You are so right about having expert eyes duirng lessons. It helps a lot. Looking forward to following your blog.