April 23, 2012 2 Comments
Day by day, things are getting a bit easier with the new, longer leathers and subsequent position changes. I’m still a long way from being solid and strong in the saddle but I can feel improvement daily. In today’s lesson, we made a show-ring quality trot a priority. Sounds easy, but for me, at the moment, it’s not. Putting the horse together, while maintaining a decent forward gait in a seat that still feels a bit precarious isn’t easy and the relative lack of stability gives me some heebie jeebies now and then.
The ride started out a little “eh.” I will freely admit that I’ve not been riding as forwardly as I should, due to the above mentioned issues with the new position. I have been doing some canter work though, and I needed it tonight, to get my pokey pony into gear.
In reality, though, the pokiness wasn’t entirely Derby’s doing. When I straighten up, open up my hip angles and drape my calves along his sides, he goes forward nicely, I’ve been reverting to trying to drive with my foot hovering on the brake.
Once we got warmed up, we ran through Intro A. The results were uninspiring. “Don’t just get through it,” Christy insisted. “Perform it.”
A-ha. That gave me a new (and badly needed) perspective. I was just going through the movements, and it showed. I rode it again, this time with some purpose. It got better, especially as I paid attention to riding from my seat and legs, and staying out of Derby’s mouth, quieting my hands.
We then went through Intro B. Finally, things were clicking into gear. As I rode Derby more forwardly, Christy observed that he really started to carry himself. It felt great, and in addition to some nice roundness and contact, I also had his back up and his back end under me. I love that feeling – when you have the horse packaged up, they feel so together, responsive and maneuverable.
Overall, I’m finally able to produce some decent gait quality and keep it for more than just a fleeting instant. I hope we keep progressing!
Tomorrow I need to send in my first show entry. It’s a schooling show up at Silverwood, and I’m going to ride Intro A and B. I was hoping to ride C but as you can see from the canter picture above, we aren’t ready to take that into the show ring. First things first – I have to re-establish the basics before I can even think of doing more. We’re not ready to really perform the canter in public … yet. For now, I’ll have to content myself with how pretty the late afternoon sun makes everything look, especially our new periwinkle duds.