February 17, 2011


Due to a snow day, I had two lessons in a row this week (yesterday and today).  I also rode Bella the Wonder Pony in Ohio last weekend, and I've conveniently caught myself up on blogging all of those things tonight.  See the previous two entries for those subjects.

The barn tonight.  Spring is coming, people!

Tonight our focus was on lateral movements.  First, we worked on leg yielding at the walk, then sitting trot.  The sitting trot exercise was this:
- Posting trot at A
- Sitting trot at B
- Come up the centerline at C
- At G, leg yield to K

After she taught me shoulder-in (which I think I successfully did for maybe three strides the entire lesson, but man we kept working at it!) we added a canter section to that exercise that went like this:

- Do all of the above
- At K, left lead canter for 3/4 circle
- At D, working trot, shoulder-in

It was incredibly hard, and my muscles were so tired by the end of the lesson.  It was mentally challenging to be continually evaluating myself, listening to my trainer and making changes that only occasionally produced results.  At the end of the day, I don't expect my instructor to have changed me, I expect myself to think about what's going on with my body enough to recognize when something is or isn't working.  She can see what's going on, and she truly sees so much that I expect her to have X-ray vision, but only I can feel it.

So she was very excited when, while working on shoulder-in, I kept talking myself through it and finally came to the conclusion that when my outside thigh was turned more into him (read: hips in line with his shoulders), I got what she was looking for, which led to the conclusion that my body needed to be doing what I wanted his body to do.  And she got really excited and said, "Yes!  That's exactly right!"

My canter work, after the breakthrough last night, was much improved.  In fact, during the canter part of the exercise, my upward and downward transitions (the second time I did it) were so good I completely forgot that I was only supposed to do 3/4 of a circle and then shoulder-in.  It just felt good, and it just made sense.  Isn't that how riding is supposed to be?

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