Boarding in a reining and games barn, I see a lot of sliding stops, gallops at full speed, sharp turns around barrels, etc. This seemed a little more up my alley. :-)
It was a balmy -15C day, with just enough wind to blow snow off the roof of the arena. My team mates included Nervous Classmate, who was riding a dead broke lesson horse (this was good because she was anxious about the snow blowing off the roof) and Wade and his crazy Arabian, Dar. I was a little nervous, not because of the snow or Dar, but because there was quite a crowd observing.
We had to walk, jog and then do a working/posting trot so that the instructor could evaluate us. Considering I haven't been getting in much riding lately, Gem and I were working together nicely. As we moved up from a jog to a posting trot, the instructor said "Wolfie, you have a good seat." Why, thank you! It was a good way to start the session. :-)
There are some advantages to being in a group; you get to learn and observe a variety of things. For instance, in Wade's case, he competes in endurance events and his horse only goes forward; Wade does not know how to back up, side pass or turn on the forehand/haunches. Interesting, eh? I hadn't really thought of that. I assumed that if you were competing, you would know at least how to back up. Also, Wade has been riding for a few years, but does not know how to post. His understanding of posting was having the horse pitch you forward, popping you out of the saddle and then plop back down in the saddle. So when the instructor explained about using his legs to post, you could see it was a light bulb moment for him.
Personally, I was glad that the areas that we worked on were mostly at a walk or jog. I know that I need to know how to lope confidently (I am getting there!!!), but to be honest, Gem and I could jog or post trot all day long; we both love it and have the stamina. Here's what she helped me with:
Have a good weekend, everyone!!
- I shouldn't plan too far in advance of where I want to end up. When I do that, I turn and look and my shoulders inadvertently move to follow my head, making Gem start to change direction sooner than I want. So, I should know where I want to end up, but only plan two horse lengths in front of me so that my shoulders stay in the correct position.
- I tend to ride with my elbows sticking out. Sigh.
- I have always wanted to side pass consistently and she broke it down for me. When side passing right, I tilt Gem's head ever so slightly to the left so I can see his nostril and then lightly bump with my left leg at the girth, keeping shoulders and hands straight. Easier said then done, but we were able to get a few good cross-overs with nice big movement. With practice, Gem and I will get it.
- Turning on the forehand; Gem ends up counter bending regularly (my fault). Same set up as side pass but I need to keep my left leg just a smidge back from the girth (I was too far back), my right leg ever so slightly on to stop him from bending and bump (not push) so that his hind end moves over. Again practice, practice.
- Oh, and I should stop looking at Gem's mane all the time. :-)
Have a good weekend, everyone!!