Four leaf clover
November 30, 2011 1 Comment
I squeezed another lesson into Christy’s schedule to deal with the issues that cropped up on Monday night. I’m happy to report that we had a nice ride, Derbs thought about looking at nothing once but we dealt with it, but that was it.
I suspect two issues contributed to my right-lead difficulties on Monday. First, I need to do a better job of producing good bend. I’m simply not asking for it. I need to practice generating bend whilst maintaining my new-and-improved position – which is kind of hard for me – Christy noted that I was letting my knees creep up, effectively closing my hip angle. Hmm. No wonder my forward gears were petering out. Christy observed that Derby is a ‘seat ride’ and is very responsive to little things – such as when I close my hip. On the up side, this does give me instant feedback, so I am alerted that there’s something I need to fix.
The other issue is actually horse-related. I’ve really upped my riding recently, and Derbs is working harder. He was getting tired on Monday night. I need to build his fitness, and respect the fact that as I up the ante, I need to work him within that context. We need to get those sadde pads wet.
For last night’s lesson, Christy had me ride a big four-leaf clover. It was an ideal exercise to practice bending one direction, especially for where I’m at, because it includes moments of straightening which I needed to reorganize. To ride the clover leaf, I essentially rode a loop in each corner. So to start, you’d ride from A to C, turning right at C, and then turning right again at B, bisecting the arena and riding straight to E, turning right and doing a loop in that corner, turning right again at C, riding straight to A, turning right at A, doing a loop, turning right at E, riding straight to B, turning right … you get the idea. It rides nicely and affords lots of bend/straighten/bend practice. Rinse and repeat going the other direction.
One other thing came to the fore last night – I’ve been letting Derby sucker me into a less good-quality trot. Christy got us back on track last night, telling me to ride like I was doing a lengthening. “Now that’s your trot!” she exclaimed as we powered down the long side. My challenge here is to keep my knees down and hips open, to guard against losing that forward impulsion.