Circles, loops and inclines

A riding post. It has been a while.  I was riding last week but had thought I would wait until after my weekend lesson to update but unfortunately succumbed to the cold-y, flu-y virus that is working its way round and couldn’t ride on Saturday. Last week’s lesson was fun, it was a semi-private and while I had never ridden with the woman before she was lovely and really pleasant to be in a lesson with. Also we are both riding Td in the dressage league so we have christened ourselves “Team Td”. Only one of us could ride him in the lesson though and she won that honour. She did really well at the weekend so I am raring to go with the dressage training, my first session is at the start of November.

Due to the fact that we were both doing the dressage league and that my riding buddy for the day hadn’t done the test previously we mainly worked on the test and understanding which rein the horses were better on, how to land accurately, keep forward momentum and of course keep them interested. I had Am, who I actually rode in the test the last time (and for some reason even though I keep saying I’m not riding her again my instructor keeps thinking I am). While maybe not great for the test I have developed a huge soft spot for Am and think that we are starting to get on a little better. By this I mean she doesn’t immediately try and bite me 🙂

It was a good lesson but I was very tired by the end of it, unusually so. This it seems was the start of the virus so now I don’t feel so bad for momentarily forgetting how to check I am on the correct diagonal. I did however have another really good canter and on Am’s “bad” rein, I am definitely becoming more relaxed and being able to push her on. We now transition back to trot when I decide to rather than because it seems easier to her.

With the weekend being a write off due to pathetic illness (honestly, I am pretty rubbish at being ill, I become all pathetic and won’t stop eating satsumas – it is an odd addiction but I love them) I was all fired up to ride yesterday. Even FirstBus and their amazing crapness couldn’t stop me having a great lesson once I was there. Due to the various bus shenanigans (reaaaallly need to learn to drive) I had a short but intense lesson yesterday which was actually good as I had to focus immediately.

We were working on getting her bending correctly and getting her to soften into the contact, oh and also obviously working on my posture. My posture has improved massively since doing the physio exercises and stretches plus keeping the pilates movements smaller rather than going for the toughest moves. It is starting to feel pretty natural to sit straight in the saddle!

So we worked on circles – firstly decreasing in size then leg yielding back out and changing the rein by half ten metre circles. Working on both reins and seeing if I could get her to come to me more. It did work and she definitely started listening and responding to me better, still not 100% I would maybe say 70%.

Next up some leg yielding on the three quarter lines then no leg yielding coming up the three quarter line as AM has a tendency to sometimes leg yield away anyway. It went pretty well actually although I didn’t get her looking to the centre far enough. We also did some shallow loops again to work on me bending her with my body, then putting in a walk transition then off in the trot again and changing the rein using the half circle and incline back to the track. Suddenly I got told ‘And, canter on’ and had to ask Am for canter – basically a sneaky ploy from my instructor to ensure that I had Am active enough to strike off. We had a great long canter on both reins although the second canter I had to ask twice as she ignored my first ask but on both of them I got a lovely position. It is definitely the focusing on the breathing that is helping that part as I am relaxing more.

As part of the wind down I was making Am walk around while I closed my eyes, this is part of my instructor trying to teach me to feel for the active walk. It was incredibly disorientating as Am walked into a fence at one point 🙂

Unfortunately I didn’t get to make as big a fuss of her as she deserved as I was getting a lift part of the way back up the road so left her in the capable hands of one of the helpers. Am is definitely becoming a firm favourite.

Oh and a final thought, remember when I posted about riding without reins – well my instructor posted a picture of her jumping lesson on her horse where she has no stirrups nor reins! They are not small jumps either – all I can say ‘wow’!! I am also a little scared, I hope she doesn’t get any ideas!!

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