A Saturday Lesson

A riding lesson and a brief mention of the wartime wardrobe challenge although I will write about it more in my monthly review of the WWC. I will post a review of the Muddy Trails race I ran on Sunday hopefully later this week.

Starting with Saturday, I was riding with one of my friends from our Sunday lesson as neither of us could make Sunday. This was a new experience for me as previously I have always either been in a group or a private at this stables although I used to frequently have lessons just myself and Sarah at our old stables.

I was given Td, he has been off work recently and is still coming back to full fitness. I was warned that I had to keep him walking actively as if he just dawdled along I was not helping him recover, duly warned and with the advice from previous lessons still in my head we set off for the school. I should at this point say that often we do hack at the stables just unfortunately with the beautiful Scottish weather of the past year the paths and tracks are not usable currently and we have been sticking to the school.

It was bitterly cold on Saturday. So cold that I was wearing four layers on the top half and my running compression tights under my jodphurs. Even then I could still feel the cold penetrating through. Td seemed oblivious, happy to wander around the school although as usual I had to work hard to stop him following B. We were working in open order as usual so each working our horses independently and taking them through school movements to warm them up. We were practising the walk and halt transition – halt is not something Td likes doing he always seems in a rush to get somewhere – which was good. Getting an active walk really helps for the horse listening to you when you ask for halt, we were also asked to halt off the track e.g. on a circle.

Next up trotting, we were each working in trot to exercises then were taken to one half of the school while the other working in the upper half and we were practising trotting 20m circles with a trotting pole placed in the middle of the school to help our positioning. It took a few goes but both of us were getting good circles by the end. Td is very responsive to the leg so it only took me gentle nudging him with my inside leg for him to produce a much nicer curve on the entry and exit of the circle across the school. Next some leg yielding, I messed this up slightly. The first time he moved across beautifully but the second and third I pushed him across too hard and he just walked in a diagonal line. As my instructor pointed out this was not his fault as he did exactly what I had asked for.

We also did a lovely exercise to make sure I was moving my arms with Td while in walk, ensuring my elbows returned to my sides afterwards. In order to judge this my instructor made us walk then trot with a whip balanced on our forearms, this worked really well except each time we rode into the more exposed part of the school the whip kept trying to blow away. Luckily Td doesn’t spook too easily, to be fair he seemed to be distracted by his own reflection in the mirrors.

Next up, a bit of canter. Td has a lovely smooth canter but he has a tendency to do the minimum of effort. A couple of times I had to steady his trot before we could canter, he has a tendency to rush at times. The first couple of times he went back to trot before I wanted him to. I was told to kick with my inside leg to keep him going, the difference was incredible. it felt like Td went ‘oh so I can really canter’, it was a brilliant forward going canter which I felt in full control. Another fun lesson, really nice to be just two of us although it meant that I had to try and keep out of B’s way rather than having the protection of other riders 🙂

The only downside with Td is he does not like to be in his stable, he throws what I can only be described as temper tantrums in the stables. He stood on my foot last January which meant I stopped running for a while (although to be fair if I had rested afterwords I probably would have been fine – top tip do not run a hard, fast five miles up a hill a day after being stood on by a horse).

A nice Wartime Wardrobe Challenge update,  after telling my instructor about the challenge she offered me the bags of clothes she was sending to the charity shop. I picked them up after riding and there were three massive bags waiting for me in the office. I had to take them quick people were already picking through them. More about the items I found in the March WWC round up.

Miles run: 6.5

WWC Coupons left: 54

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