If Nothing Hurts, You’re Not Doing it Right

2 09 2012

I had such a useful riding lesson today!

Once again, I had Tara and Damian had Harvey. Tara is a really lovely horse to ride, and she’s absolutely stunning – I may have suppressed the urge to do a little happy dance when they told me I had her again. Heh.

This week, we had a different instructor, who was fantastic; she listened, she gave us helpful pointers, she explained everything really well and encouraged us to stop and ask questions whenever we didn’t understand anything, and had a playful manner about her. She began the lesson by asking us what we wanted out of it, which impressed me from the beginning, and she seemed to have as much fun as we did, which was nice. After the lesson she said it had been ‘nice to teach adults for a change’.

In this lesson, we really just worked on the rising and sitting trot. I was given a lot of helpful pointers; thus far, it would seem, I’ve been rising and sitting too hard, and leaning too far forwards, but our instructor gave me some really helpful pointers on which muscle groups to use and how that really helped me, and said I did a lot better after taking her advice. She was far more complimentary about my sitting trot, which to be fair I’ve had a lot more practice at, however.

Speaking of sitting trot, something really amazing happened in the lesson today that is still making me smile every time I think about it. Before we started practising it, our instructor explained to us in great detail how to sit. I semi-consciously tilted my pelvis as she was describing to prepare myself for doing it for real, and as I did so Tara just automatically went into a trot, and I had to pull her back. That probably doesn’t sound all that exciting to all you experienced riders who already know about that sort of thing, but to a novice like me who is still at the stage of starting a trot with a squeeze and a bit of an awkward kick it felt magical, and after I pulled her back I had to do it again to check it hadn’t just been a fluke. Then, when we actually went into the trot for real, I tried doing it that way again and it worked!

Things I had trouble with this week were persuading Tara not to cut corners when she seemed determined to do so (the flipside of which was that I was given the clearest instruction to date on which leg and which rein to use and how when turning into a corner), and managing to keep her so close to the fence (something I’ve struggled with in the past) that my foot scraped by it and got knocked out of the stirrup. Rising with the trot in the manner I was instructed to do it today felt a lot more secure, but really gave my stomach and thigh muscles a good workout! The instructor said that it should hurt if I was doing it properly. I liked that!

At the end of the lesson, she asked me what I felt I’d learned. I told her I felt everything she had taught me had been extremely useful, because I would remember it better for having the context of my experiences in Japan to place it within, in terms of correcting what I’d misunderstood and reinforcing what I’d been getting right. I feel like I am learning so much more in these lessons than I did previously for that very reason.

She did however say that she feels I’m a way off cantering yet, which was a little disappointing for me, but I fully appreciate that she’s in a much better position to judge this and I am willing to continue practising the basics for as long as necessary to get up to a standard at which I’m deemed competent enough to tackle the more difficult stuff. She advised us to alternate lessons and hacks to keep it interesting for ourselves and to help us consolidate what we were learning in the lessons, but I don’t know how feasible that would be with me returning up North after next weekend and having to find a new riding school again.

After the lesson we lead the horses back to their stalls. There was some feed going around at this point, so they were a bit distracted, but we managed to get a fuss off some of the horses. Saxon had his head out again, seeking attention from all and sundry, and I got to have some lovely hugs with him (even if he was just trying to eat my helmet straps). Harvey and Tara did go out shortly after we took them back, but I at least got to try and fuss Tara for a while afterwards. Sadly, however, she was distracted by the feed bucket!

There are a handful of pictures of me fussing the horses in the stables afterwards out there, but they’re not on my phone/camera, so once they have been passed on to me I shall upload them into a separate entry.

 

Teaser!:

This is Tara (^-^)

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4 responses

2 09 2012
anythingforhorseandrider

I have a large farm and teach riding lessons. It sounds like you have a great instructor that teaches more than just a good position, but how to truly communicate to your horse. Happy Riding!

2 09 2012
onahorse

Thank you!

3 09 2012
mellchan

Is this Tara? It truly is a tease lol.
Sounds like you had a very productive lesson!

4 09 2012
onahorse

Yes, that’s Tara! The other pictures are up now 😀

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