Finding a Balance

2 12 2012

I had my actual lesson today! It was brilliant. I had a different instructor again, who had me work on my lower leg position a lot and encouraged me to use longer stirrups. It feels much better now! I see the merits of keeping your heels down and back now; if you do it this way, it doesn’t just balance you better, but controlling your mount with your legs becomes much easier because in that position you have much better contact with the horse’s sides. Especially on a small and fairly round horse like Soapy (who I had again). Heh. We did a lot of walking and trotting while standing with the addition of a neck strap to hold onto if I needed it to help me find my balance, and she gave me some really helpful pointers on this, for example pushing my knees into the saddle to steady myself and leaning slightly forwards if I needed to steady myself.

Again, I told the instructor at the beginning of the lesson that my canter wasn’t very good and we agreed that we’d work on that. It seems that when I relax I can get a good canter going on the left rein, because my right side seems to be a fair bit stronger than my left, but it all falls apart when we change reins. Another problem is that I still tend to panic a bit when the canter starts, when I need to relax so the horse doesn’t panic, too (which will ultimately only lead them to slow down or bolt). It’s something to work on going forwards, anyway; my instructor advised me to request a half-hour lunge lesson just to get used to the feel of a canter, and then follow that with half an hour cantering on my own. I need to think about this. I do think it would be helpful, it’s just the expense to consider, especially seeing as I now have plans to do additional riding in Nottingham this month.

This time, after the lesson, I was allowed to lead Soapy back to her stall myself as she didn’t have any more lessons after me. One of the volunteers, a pleasant young lady, untacked her and put a rug on her while I stayed in there to say goodbye. I put my fist up for her to investigate, and she gently nuzzled it, but without any nipping, biting or frisking; when I walked out of her stall, she followed me over to the door, even though the young lady hadn’t finished untacking her yet. Once she was untacked and nicely wrapped up in her rug, I stood by the side of the door while she stuck her head out and appeared happy just to share the space with me. I stroked her neck and her lips went all trembly. I briefly stroked her chin, but she seemed not to like it so I stopped. I got my phone out to take a picture, and she posed for me! She’s a really sweet, characterful little horse. It was so cold, though, that she had steam coming off her. Bless her little feathered socks. Heh.

Soapy posing for me!

Soapy posing for me!

She was amusingly naughty in the arena, though. My instructor had apple slices in her pocket and she could smell them. At the beginning of the lesson she told me to walk her around on a long rein, and I had quite a bit of trouble getting Soapy to stay on the track and not just veer off to where the instructor was standing. When she reached her, she just stopped right in front of her and looked at her with her ears pricked forwards. It was so sweet it was barely frustrating. I found it difficult to leave her behind when I left the stables!

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3 responses

2 12 2012
gsug

Gosh, sounds like a very good, worthwhile lesson. I’ll bet it was really cold for you too. Does Soapy like Polos? She looks like she might. x

9 12 2012
mellchan

I like polos! I wonder what horses REALLY think of half the stuff we make them wear lol.

9 12 2012
mellchan

Oh, sounds fun! Standing while trotting? I admit to doing the idiotic jockey pose when I am feeling too lazy to post and Skip is doing his excited extra bouncy trot. Never tried standing though.
Have you thought of volunteering there?

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