The One Where My Classmates Nail It (I don’t do too badly either)

Well I was meant to be writing about the hack I would have taken my mate on in horrific weather – blowing a gale and pissing down – but I managed to sleep in for that. I should stress I wasn’t taking her on the hack because of the horrible weather that just happened – realised there I sounded like a terrible friend! Now considering the hack was at 1 o’clock and I was in my bed the night before by half past midnight you can see I well and truly screwed up there. So instead I rode at my old stables yesterday for a wee lesson and had Td. Balance, straightness and not looking at Td constantly were my orders for the hour (we were a little cheeky and didn’t say we normally stop at fifty minutes). We had a different instructor, I have had her once before and think she is great – the lessons are always inventive and engaging plus she has no problem changing things for either one or all depending upon how the lesson is progressing.

As per the normal routine I had Td, for some reason my nerves were there quite strongly at the start and I mentioned that to the instructor. She said not a problem and when I gently reminded her that last time she taught me she had to walk beside me she gave me a big smile and said ‘Oh that’s nothing, we all need that sometimes’, that actually picked up my spirits a little.

We were quite a big class but this week it didn’t feel too squeezed. In the walk I was being told to relax my shoulders and forearms but I still just can’t get that to happen. I watched my mate who does it really well and I see what she is doing but somehow, no matter how much I think about it my arms refuse to move. I guess it is practise on this one, I wonder if I have always had such stiff arms or if it has gotten worse with the nerves. I don’t remember being told to relax my arms in each lesson previously.

We did some trot work to warm them up and then did lots of leg yielding back and forth on various lines up the school between the poles. That was great, I thought Td and I were doing okay until the instructor decided that my main focus should be on feeling when he was straight not looking at him. So I was to look at the houses opposite the school or into the field with the other horses, my balance was definitely improved and although I still checked too strongly a couple of times most of the time we had a better straight line and we managed a good couple of leg yield steps rather than lots of slightly bad ones.

Next up the old C monster šŸ™‚ Yup after the joy of last weeks escapades I felt a bit sick when she mentioned canter. I felt Td was quite spritely and rather than being excited by that I was getting into my little head spiral of ‘he will just run, he will run and run, faster and faster then he will fall’ so I volunteered to go first. I was given option to opt out which I had kind of taken at the start but instead when asked again I just said ‘can I go first so I don’t over think this’. The instructor thought this was a great idea and so did my classmates, so off Td and I went. The exercise was to take a nice line into the corner in trot, pick up canter, canter for four strides (roughly) then transition back but ride the transition into a forward, smooth trot. Well….we missed our first transition BUT we got it in the next corner although then the notion of a corner went out the window and we cantered in a straight line toward Ct and his bemused looking rider. Avoiding them I then got a decent downward transition, then tried it all over again. The second time the steering was still all to one side like Gourock but my upward transition was better, I took a better seat and didn’t tip forward so much – all positives.

Then Td and I got to settle back and watch my classmates, I say settle back Td kept fidgeting as though he wanted to go again – he does love a canter šŸ™‚

My classmates did brilliantly. I really need to film our class one time as each time I told them how good they looked riding the transitions they seemed surprised. I was especially impressed by one of my classmates who had a bad fall (a concussion in fact) from P a little over a month ago and she rode him beautifully yesterday. Afterwards we all chatted away about the lesson and the instructor left us all with a few positives and even came to check that we were okay dealing with the horses.

It might be nearly a month (!) until I am back to my old stables, Td won’t miss me of that I am sure, but that was a nice lesson to finish with. I am doing Tour o’ the Borders next Sunday so I am riding at Appin on Saturday before carb loading like a machine – wish me luck (luck for Tour o’ the Borders, I am a total pro at carb loading šŸ™‚ )

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