Learning is a process.
January 17, 2011 7 Comments
I took my good weekend rides into a lesson tonight, telling Christy that I had figured out where my trouble with the right rein is originating – I’m popping my right shoulder forward – so even though my hand is not.giving.rein, well, my shoulder is. Here, from tonight, in all its spectacular ugliness, is my issue du jour.
So I focused a lot on keeping my shoulders square, pushing my left hip a bit forward (feedback from the Equitrainer a couple months ago) and not letting my right shoulder come forward. Obviously, I have a lot of progress to make in this respect. I mentioned to Christy that I felt like I was constantly breaking and fixing my postion, and she assured me that there would always be something like this to work on – it may eventually be more subtle (I sure hope so) but, as she said, if it was easy, we’d all be riding Grand Prix.
As I rode, we also paid attention to transitions. I’ve been so focused on my leg position and other issues, I’ve allowed the mare to become very sloppy – I have to work harder to get her off my leg, and make her round onto the bit. She’s fallen behind my leg, which doesn’t help. It’s hard to do much when your horse isn’t even tracking up. Christy pointed out to me that I was having to ask the mare repeatedly for upward transitions, so I dispensed with my wishy-washy-ness and started using my whip.
Fact is, it’s hard to ride well when your horse isn’t responsive. It’s hard to stay balanced, and keep the horse round and soft, if at the same time you have to kick the critter into an upward transition. And I recall how easy my first few rides on Maddie were – Christy had put 90 days of training on her, and the mare was ultra light and responsive. I’ve made her dull, and I need to fix this.
We made some progress tonight, getting what we call “big trot” which really just means a decent working trot, with the horse tracking up and a nice rhythmic tempo. It feels good to be riding that trot again, though I’m still not getting the gait in which I can really feel the mare pushing with the big engine in her hindquarters. But we aren’t too far away from it. And I need to make that nice “big” trot my habit. That’s the trot that ultimately is easiest to work from – which is precisely why it’s called “working trot.” It’s an essential piece of the foundation.
Toward the end of the ride, Christy assured me it didn’t look as bad as it felt (at least the last few patterns. The first part of the lesson wasn’t pretty, I don’t care what she says!) I’m looking forward to the point in the near future when I have re-installed the responsiveness buttons, and have fixed that dratted shoulder!