Carry on, and carry yourself
March 27, 2012 1 Comment
We had an interesting weekend, and have resumed our lessons for the week.
We had a nice ride on Saturday, however, we had a mini mishap when I went to ask for the left lead canter. As I asked and Derby stepped into stride, I felt my inside leg slip back, and I poked him in the belly with a spur. Derby rightly took some offense, humping his back and and daring me to needlessly jab him again. I transitioned to trot and got my butt up in two point. I have to strengthen my leg, period.
Sunday was a gorgeous day, and all of the arena doors are open. I’m not sure Derby’s ever seen the back door open, and he was bug-eyed at an open side door last week, outside which a variety of equipment is parked. I rode him through resistance and spooks, getting closer and closer to the lawn mower that was crouched, waiting to give a passing horse a haircut, but it wasn’t a great ride, and at no point did Derby really relax.
After that ride, I revisited getting control over the inside hind. I practiced lateral work (shoulder-in and leg yield) and lots of work bending and flexing. I got to put that work to the test on Sunday, and things went well. In short order I was able to get Derby to relax, and go around on the rail, walking and trotting easily. Relaxation was the goal of the day.
Tonight we resumed lessons, and we’re stepping up to 45 minutes. The first part of the lesson went pretty well, but then things got a little interesting when Derby started to resist, sucking his tongue over the bit and sucking back. The answer wasn’t to mess with the reins, I learned. Instead Christy had me get after Derby with my inside leg when he came above the bit and resisted. “Tap tap tap! Use your leg! Use it!” It worked, sending Derby forward into the contact, rather than trying to wrestle him with the reins.
Taking a break, Christy explained, theorizing that as I started to lose energy, I was losing a bit of balance and steadiness. Derby was taking advantage. Taking her words to heart, I changed direction, and made a real effort to balance myself. I found my seatbones, and got a nice walk. Moving into the trot, I posted out of a soft half-seat, keeping a quiet and balanced position. Derby quieted, his back came up and the quality of the trot got better quickly. “That’s better, that’s much better!” Christy affirmed. I explained to her the adjustment I had made.
“Well, before you can expect the horse to carry himself, you have to carry yourself, ” she said. This was a lesson I’ll definitely remember.