First lesson with our new instructor this afternoon. After all the work Pam has done with me it is odd to think she won’t be teaching me anymore and to be honest a little daunting to think of a different person choosing which horse I should ride and what I would be doing. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I approached the stables this afternoon, luckily my classmates and I had decided to do this lesson en-mass to see how we enjoyed the new instructor. I have mentioned before that the group of girls I ride with help me with my nerves and do genuinely help me feel I can tackle much more than I can when I ride elsewhere. We were given horses we normally ride so I had Td. I enjoy riding Td but Tx is the pony I feel I have the best bond with – I think Td is a great horse for anyone to ride which always makes me feel slightly incidental.
So once we were all mounted our new instructor chatted away a bit, telling us what to do during the warm up and explaining that she wanted us to do leg yielding work along with warning us that her “thing” is horse and rider straightness – oh boy me and wiggly, old Td weren’t going to do well 😉
It was a different lesson. We only worked in walk and trot although the instructor did say that was because she hadn’t realised the time. We did work in open order and a couple of movements in file but still working independently i.e. keeping space between us. Those exercises were a bit tougher for Td and I as he has a tendency to see the back-end of a horse and take it as target so rushes off which leaves me a bit frustrated as I try to make him remember that we are a partnership and he is meant to listen to me. The instructor’s insistence on balance and even distribution of weight both through your body and your reins did make me think much more about the reins, looking to see if I was holding on with one and trying to ensure I had contact but without pulling. I was also pulled up a couple of times about my lack of activity (Td and I were dawdling a couple of times), she said that we shouldn’t be afraid of asking for activity in the more laid back horses as it is often much easier to work on all the other movements once you have an active walk or trot. I will confess that I probably didn’t have a proper “good” walk until around a third of the way through the lesson but now that I am aware of that I am going to focus on that immediately when I get into the school (I am sure I have typed those words before but this time I need to remember them – maybe I will tattoo them on my hands along with left and right 🙂 ).
We did a lot of leg yielding work first in walk then trot, Td and I were better on the left rein unsurprisingly as that is my stronger rein but interestingly we were probably better in trot than in walk. On the leg yield we were to leg yield for a couple of steps then close the outside leg on to straighten up then leg yield again. I found this really interesting as it showed when Td wasn’t really responding to me, our first attempt proved that he wasn’t really listening to me so that gave me a better baseline to improve from. Each go improved I feel although on the last one he transitioned back to walk as though it has all been too much, cheeky devil.
Poor Td was a bit miffed he didn’t get a canter and at the end when we were all halting at the end of the lesson he sped up hopefully towards the top corner and seemed a bit despondent when I turned him in instead. He does love a canter does Td, I once heard a story about how he had canter pretty much continuously throughout a hack – on the spot, slowly when he was meant to trot, on all the paths – apparently he was a real pain! You can tell that about him, today in the stable he wouldn’t stop impatiently flipping his head collar at me and when I turned him out into the field with P he just stood with him backside towards us rather than come and get a treat. Grumpy git today, I like that about riding though they definitely have their personalities and their good days/bad days.
At the end of the lesson our instructor asked if we had any questions then remarked on something we should work on next time to each of us. They were all different comments and all were phrased positively. I was told I needed to work on even weight distribution and activity, fair enough I need to do that. So the verdict for today’s lesson – it was good, different but good. I think we all appreciated that this woman did not teach like Pam so it didn’t feel like a replacement but a totally new experience, we enjoyed that. Roll on next week, let’s see how this all progress. A start of a new chapter in my riding story, different but should be fun!