Ignorance is Bliss

Tonights canter on Frankie.

A while back, I commented to Christy that I didn’t realize how bad my riding was until I had been riding long enough to realize that sad fact for myself.    And while I do know that I’ve improved, I’m also still aspiring to ride a decent Training level test.  Walk, trot, canter.  Nothing too fancy. But a girl has to start somewhere.

And tonight I really realized where “somewhere” is for me at the moment – and it’s pretty close to square one!  The good news is that my confidence is returning.   The bad news is that being a wimp for the last month or so has had a deleterious effect on my ability to perceive what’s going on while in the saddle.  Specifically, I’ve become woefully comfortable riding nothing trots.  Dinky feels like we’re moving out.   I thought I was asking Frank to step out tonight, and he was barely tracking up. Gaah. It wasn’t even a decent working trot. Oy, vey ist mir.  There was one bright spot.  I did get him to stretch pretty well while trotting, which is not something I’ve done much, and so the fact that I was able to get the wiley old schoolmaster to stretch was a small win  for me.

Also on the up side, we cantered a bit, and it was fun, but not too pretty.  I need to start working on putting the horse together at the canter.  Starting with the upward transition, which needs a lot more grace and deliberation.

Oliver trotting easily, and accepting a little contact without resisiting.

I did have a fun and easy ride on Oliver tonight, too.  He was a very good boy, despite the fact they were in today. (It snowed this morning.) (I know!!!) We trotted nice and easy, both ways, and did lots of transition work, because he was feeling fine and fresh and didn’t want to listen to the human.  Trot walk trot walk halt stand no, you’re still standing walk and I mean walk with some purpose boy halt good boy walk trot keep trotting yep all the way down the long side past the spooky corner not a look good boy walk halt stand walk rinse repeat.

Oliver transitioning downward from my seat - I love how his back is up and he's stepping under himself. I'm staying out of his mouth.

The transition work did pay off – we had a couple nice downward transitions in which he didn’t fall onto his forehand, and instead brought his back up, stretched into the bit and stepped waay up under himself.  I hate my position in this picture (nice hunched shoulders!) but included it because I’m proud of Oliver.

Hopefully, I can get back on Atlanta soon – she’s recovering from a bout of back soreness, and I’ll really focus on working the stretchy trot on her – her topline has suffered for her time off, and she needs to work over her back more – and this will be excellent practice for me.

Thank goodness for friends with nice horses and busy schedules!  I’ll claw my way back to competence one of these days.

About Sarah Skerik
Sarah Skerik is an experienced digital marketing executive and strategist with a long track record of success in content marketing, social media, demand generation, event marketing, sales enablement, product management and business development.

4 Responses to Ignorance is Bliss

  1. Jenn says:

    Don’t feel bad about noticing all of your mistakes. We all are coming from somewhere and going somewhere else! I used to be A-OK jumping 3′ courses, but after more than a year off of riding I have been yelling at my lower leg to just stay under me gosh-darnit! I know I’ll get back to that point, but it is one heck of a trip in the meantime…

    • Sarah Skerik says:

      Thanks Jenn! It’s hard not to be too hard on myself. I do have to remember that it’s a process. Rome – and a horse’s top line or a rider’s steady lower leg – wasn’t built in a day.

  2. Meghan says:

    actually, I think the first picture shows an improvement from the last few pictures you’ve posted! Your seat looks more natural, your hands look softer! I think everyone has a ‘go back to square one’ moment. I certainly had one last year when I couldn’t make my new horse (she was trained through fourth level, as opposed to my TB that was a solid first leveler) canter, and I had been riding for fifteen years. I had to start over, and it took a year to re-learn a whole load of stuff, but it was worth the blood, sweat, and (copious) tears. I now ride my lower level horse much better as an added bonus! The farther you go, the more you end up working on basics, as funny as it sounds, so don’t lose heart! You’re just going through a major growth spurt!

  3. dressage rider says:

    I feel your pain. I HATE looking at video and photos of myself riding. However, I’ve spotted how much improvement has been made too. It’s a very slow process but you strike me as someone willing to put in the time needed. Chin up.

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