Thursday, January 15, 2015

Like Pieces of a Puzzle

 Friday I rode Moe again. Unfortunately, I won't be able to work out something with Ronnie as it looks now, but my plan that I mentioned in an earlier post may help. Again stay tuned because it's almost ready.

For most of my lesson, I was focusing on relaxing my body, keeping my legs soft and sit up tall with my shoulders back. I started out by doing simple leg yields from quarter line to the rail on a loose rein. At first, since by body was tense I ended up twisting my entire body and letting my position slip each time I leg yielded, rather than simple apply more pressure with my inside leg. As I rode, I thought I lot about my position, and my leg becoming much better. I began gripping Moe with the inside of my calf, not my knee. I was also sitting up taller. Once I had sorted out my balance, I cantered right.

 After the canter, which I did at a circle at C, I focused on balancing Moe with half halts, asking for roundness, and keeping her at a constant, steady tempo. She tends to anticipate doing more cantering after the first time cantering, so I had keeping her from breaking into canter. I started to develop a feel for when she was about to speed up and half halted accordingly. After working on this for quite a bit, I managed to get a really nice balanced trot.

 Once I did, I tried to repeat that during the dressage test, which went smoothly. I didn't do the canter left, but the canter right was really nice and Meghan said it was the best it's been with me riding her. She was balanced, not taking off and went a nice tempo. It's amazing how nicely things go once the small(but important) details are sorted out. I had also recently read an article about the arms, hands, and outside rein, which helped my a lot because I struggle with the same thing the author of the article does.

 At the end of the lesson, I did the leg yield on a loose rein from quarter line to the rail. The difference was amazing! I was more relaxed and confident and only had to use a light squeeze with my inside leg to push Moe over. My body was straight and moving my leg didn't affect the rest of my body at all.

 Monday, Moe was pretty relaxed, except she freaked out a bit when I got on because I may have put my toe in her on accident. She quickly moved sideways, away from the mounting block. Before riding Chester I might have fallen, but I've developed a better seat since I started riding him in June from learning to ride him through his challenges.

 I did a similar thing, starting with leg yields and then riding on a serpentine, canter in the middle. Moe didn't pick up the correct lead heading left, so I tried again on the way back, and when she still didn't, Meghan told to me do a diagonal and serpentine the other way. The other way around, I go a nice canter, and made a circle at E rather than moving on to the next part of the serpentine. I focused on sitting deep in the saddle rather than leaving air between my bum and the saddle. I managed to get it for a few strides and felt much more secure.

 Practicing the test went smoothly, too. and I even got Moe to pick up the left lead. To finish, I did leg yields in the trot. Several of them were really nice and smooth--it felt great. Meghan also said that my elbows were much better Monday! It also feels great that the pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together. My position is improving, my seat is becoming more independent, and the smaller details are coming together now that I can fairly confidently walk, trot, and canter and have control over the horse.
P.S. Couldn't post the pictures yet.

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