Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Oh my, I'm so busy! That's why I had lessons on Friday and I'm not writing about them until today.

So I started with a lesson on Skyy. It's a good thing I had a lesson because I was riding him incorrectly. Skyy has a lot of movement but he's a bit disorganized and unbalanced. He's very "forward thinking" and moves out with a big trot with no problem. So I had just been letting him go and was concentrating on steering, bending, and getting on the bit. My trainer said that what he needs to do is slow down and learn to push, since what he was actually doing was letting his long hind legs trail out behind him.

When I slowed him down enough he didn't feel like he was going anywhere. My trainer said that it will feel slow, but it's actually a much nicer trot than him going around at mach 5. We worked on that trot and when he began to relax I was able to ask for a bit more and he pushed off of his haunches without rushing.

That was all at the trot. The canter is still kind of quick but needs strength and balance. At first he refused to canter when asked. This was just bad attitude directed at me for not letting him rip around the arena at the trot anymore like I had been. He pinned his ears and got all bunchy in the back and just refused to canter. I hadn't carried a whip or used my spurs when riding him, but my trainer said that I should not allow him to refuse the canter again. I asked my trainer to grab my whip for me, got back into the trot and asked for the canter. He ignored me again, so I gave him a little swat with the whip.

He didn't like that AT ALL, and bolted forward. I just hung on for the ride and told him he was a good boy for cantering. We got to the other end of the arena and I had him slowed down enough that I could sit the canter. When we came out of the corner and went down the long side, he broke back into the trot. I asked for the canter again, and he hesitated, so he got another swat. He went kind of fast into the canter, but he got more praise. After that when I asked for the canter he jumped into it. My trainer now wants me to be careful not to let him trot quickly into the canter, but to ask him to jump into it from the nice slow trot. This will help him build strength and make him push like he's supposed to.

My next lesson was on Kaswyn. I told my trainer what we had been working on, and after warming up she said "I have to say, that I feel much more comfortable with you riding this horse now. Before the last show he looked stiff and creaky, but now he looks like he's ready and willing to work. He looks like your old horse again."


So we had a lesson and ran though some of the upper level movements. We did trot half-passes, which were great to the left but lacked sufficient bend to the right. My trainer said that he has plenty of forward movement, but if I wanted to perfect it I would need more bend. Of course I want to perfect it - I'm just a little obsessive about my riding, in case you couldn't tell. So we will be working on the bend in the right half-pass.

We also worked on the canter pirouettes. The pirouette to the right was quite good, while the one to the left just needed to be smaller and more on the spot. We were able to improve it after some schooling, and will continue to work on it. All in all, a great lesson. My horse feels wonderful, and I guess he looks it too.

I was lucky Friday in that Susan was there to help me, so she was getting horses ready for me. When I got off of Kaswyn she had Albert all ready, and my trainer had about 20 minutes left before she had to leave, so I had a third mini-lesson on Albert. I showed her the canter loops and change of direction at the canter, and she (as always!) was able to tell me what I needed to do to make them better. And she was happy with the trot lengthenings, but told me that I should ask for more elevation of the front end now that he's got the idea of lengthening and pushing.

So I have a list of things to work on with all three horses, and hopefully I can get another two (or three!) lessons next Monday. They are all entered in the show - it's in three and a half weeks! I'm trying to ride all three of them five times a week, and sometimes it's really hard. I get super tired, but I can't complain about the results. All three boys are making great progress, both mentally and physically. Skyy is losing weight and is getting nicely toned, and Kaswyn and Albert are little beefcakes with rock hard butts. My body is also benefiting from all of this riding. I'm ten pounds less than I was when I got pregnant for the first time, and I have my six-pack abs back. Not bad for a forty year old who hasn't walked into a gym for almost six years.

Today Susan and Skyy's owner are busy, so I have to ride and groom all three by myself. It's going to be a late night, and I'll be tired when I get home. I'm lucky my man is so understanding. And that he cooks dinner, because I'll be hungry too!

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