Finally some Flatwork! (oh and the one where I wimp out of jumping)

We are now in countdown mode – 2 lessons left with my current instructor so I am trying to remember the things she says (that comment suggest that normally I don’t 😉 ) and focus on having fun and enjoying these remaining lessons. So it was lesson 4 on Wednesday and I had Am. When I saw her all tacked up I realised I haven’t ridden her for a while, I actually was also quite happy because I am well aware I am not a good enough jumper to take Am over a jump so it had to be a flatwork lesson – thank the lord.

So we had lots of moving her around to warm her up and loosen her off, I need to remember that in lessons in general so I get a horse bending and moving – maybe if I can think of it more along the lines of like a warm up in a fitness class for me. We then did one of those interesting exercises that teaches me a little more about the difference between the horses, Am always feels very much like she is dragging herself along and this was proved to me by how tricky she finds it to halt when all her energy is in the front end. We did an exercises of trotting 20m circles, 15m circles and 10m circles and on each circle we were to walk, halt then pick up trot again. I found it tough on both reins and I think we only managed a full halt a couple of times which was when I had her working from her back-end. It felt like a bit of a fight but if I slackened off the rein and asked again usually we got there.

We moved onto shallow loops but aargh left leg problem again why does it keep moving all the damn time! Maybe I should just remove it – although cycling would be harder. It is also tricky as Am right hoofed and I am left handed – a definite issue but I think we worked through it well. I finaly got her into corner to do shallow loops well, in fact a bit too well and we were in and out and in in about 5 seconds flat 🙂 The left rein harder is for her but I could really feel her trying.

The thing with Am is that she is always speedy but you need to try and change it so that she is using her backend and not just dragging herself along. In the canter apparently I need to be more involved – I still kind of just wait for canter to stop, and I need to ride with more purpose. We ballsed up the first few transitions with Am kept doing a fast trot rather than canter, on the first canter she felt like she was really dragging herself although that improved. The trot from the downward transition felt incredibly fast but had power from the backend so it was a massively improved trot.  My instructor had me watching where Am is looking in canter so that I decide where to stop, trying to keep her going when she was finding it difficult. So I focused on noticing when I could feel her backing off then leg on, it was successful a couple of times but it is something I need to think about each time I canter.

Overall I think we did okay, by the end we were both having fun I think. I really wish Am wasn’t so bite-y on the ground but the sheepskin girth wrap has definitely improved things for her and she didn’t swing round to snap at me when I was untacking her.

Today I had Tx – I did wimp out of jumping though which I am a little annoyed about but to be fair if I don’t enjoy it should I do it? I don’t know, sometime I think it is great to push myself but sometimes I think it is nice to just fully enjoy my lesson without the nerves. It was a shame that it was a big class as it meant at times it felt like we had to halt and wait in queues for a bit – but hey I don’t think Tx complained 🙂

After the warm up, during which I remembered to at least incorporate some weaving of imaginary barrels and circling with inclines back to the tracks (finally after all these lessons I am not just walking around and around but actually thinking of ways to try and warm up differently) we did some brief canters to warm them up fully. On the first set of canters it was brought home to me that I reeeaaallly need to work on my spacial awareness – not only did I get in my mate’s way for her canter I also managed to canter directly into a barrel. Although with hindsight I would question why Tx didn’t think to avoid the barrel himself, I know I have to steer but come on! 🙂 While the others jumped we did a canter exercise where we counted the strides out loud then went back to trot for three strides then halting. We did okay with those, Tx seemed happy enough to halt for me. The downside being that our corners were pretty terrible throughout in canter, I need to work on that but the transitions were pretty good and when I think back to how bad my transitions used to be that is a big improvement. I no longer tip forward in manner of a woman trying to throw herself off the horse.

After the lesson I gave Tx a lot of fuss before rugging him up for his weekend. It is strange to think that I have only two lessons left with my instructor and I have no idea what the shape of lessons will be after she leaves. Think it will be an emotional one next week, bring on Wednesday though – I did promise my instructor I would try a jump!

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