Ugh, no media for this lesson either(last week so I’m behind again lol), but it was still a good one. I was originally supposed to ride Georgio again – which yay for canter and dear god for trot lol – but he ended up being needed for someone else. He was really affectionate this time around just like Rocky, so I hadn’t gotten very far in getting him ready in favor of face rubs. Since he was needed, I grabbed Lit instead and he was very interested in face rubs too. Maybe they pick up on the fact that I like giving face rubs? haha I don’t know! But I know lesson horses probably don’t get much “love” in that sense, so I usually try to give extra face rubs and extra loves, so maybe they just really like that lol.
Anyway, I got Lit ready – all excited to use my 5 point, aaaaand it was too small. So I had to run back to my truck and grab my 3 point PS of Sweden, which seems to fit all manner of horses really well. It was already set for him anyway from the last time I used it, so I finished girthing him up and off we went. He hadn’t been out yet, so I got a fresh horse. He was pretty in tune to me, but he was also a bit creaky, so I started him off with some good stretchy walk. We moved into a nice trot, and it felt really great! I felt like I could actually ride his trot, and felt a glimmer of how he used to be and how we probably could be if I rode him a lot more. It was really cool to feel that, and then after about 5-10 minutes I lost it haha. So I’m definitely developing muscle, it’s just going to take a while and doing more than I’m doing. (Please no, I hate gyms)
We did more no stirrup work, which was actually not so bad lol. It is needed though, because my tendency as I ride to help “soften” a trot, is to roll my spine and pelvis. Very western. But western horses don’t have giant, buoyant trots, so we worked on me sitting that. While it was difficult to replicate, I tried remembering some of the Mary Wanless tips about position I’d watched sometime last year when I started a bit of dressage with Amber, and it really clicked when Trainer M had me tilt my hips just so. It was just the smallest straightening of my spine from rolled to level, and suddenly, Lit’s trot was really easy to sit. I could feel his back lift under me, and his steps became a little more suspended. I know it was a much smaller change than it felt like, but the lightbulb went off in my brain. His trot was very slow, and I really had to work on keeping my fingers closed and getting the elasticity from my elbows and not my hand, but I could really feel the change.
Trainer M asked me if I had done any dressage at all, or if I liked it, so I explained about starting out a bit with Amber. She really likes dressage too, so I think it’d actually be super fun to stick my dressage saddle on him sometime and do some dressage. That probably won’t happen, but hey maybe someday. (I do want to take dressage lessons at some point too but jumping is a bit more exciting for right now lol)
Lit was a very good boy, and we had frequent breaks to help the both of us catch our breath, but he was much better at the canter this time. I sat on his back this time, keeping his shoulders up. I was trying to figure out what parts of my legs he responded best to (Rocky responds very well – as does Amber – to a lengthened leg and pressing with the side of your calf and a firm upper leg – but no pinching knees) and I think I figured it out. I just don’t have the leg strength yet for the amount of pressure he responds to, and in doing this at the canter my right leg was just like….useless. Lit was leaking out of his right shoulder just as Rocky had done that last lesson. My leg just felt floppy, like it was telling me “thank you for calling on your right leg. I am sorry, but we are unable to take any demands at the moment. Have a nice day.”
Ha. Well, thank you, leg.
Even still, I managed to get the exercise done – cantering over 2 ground poles set one stride apart with a modicum of success. I was much better to the right than to the left. Huh. Sound familiar? lol Exact repeat of Saturday. Soooooo I should probably do something about that lol.
Lit did have a spook – 21 years old and still a young man at heart lol. I was completely not expecting it, so I was actually pretty relaxed as he whirled sideways a bit. I stayed with him before he made an extra hop sideways. That unseated me, but thank goodness my right leg decided that self-preservation was important and this was a good time to actually work so I managed to stay on and not fall off haha. Lit immediately jumped back into the canter, which actually helped me regain my position a little better. I thought about regrouping and making a circle before cantering the poles again (the spook was on the opposite side of the circle), but Lit was forward, I’d regained my stirrups, so I just shrugged and pointed him at them and it worked fine. We cantered the poles a few more times with me successfully cantering a steady line and keeping those shoulders straight before calling it a day.
I had hoped we would jump, but before I could say anything Trainer M expressed that, while I looked confident and comfortable jumping, she wanted to revisit the basics a bit more to help me develop a better position so that when I did start going over jumps it would feel easy. Which is great – it’s what I want out of lessons and why I’m taking them anyway!
This lesson I certainly didn’t have as many mental blocks – it was all muscle blocks this time haha! It was a relatively simple lesson, but the little details are what really stuck in my mind. Now I just have to get stronger so that I can do more little details lol. I’m in a better swing now of 2 lessons with Trainer G and 2 lessons with Trainer M, and I’m liking it so far. Trainer G tends to be a little more intricate in her lessons, and she has a knack for setting simple exercises that still really test your brain and help you improve a lot of things at once. With Trainer M, the barn has a lot of seasoned lesson horses, so all of the energy of the lesson is focused on my position and fine tuning my arms, my back, my legs when they get tired, and anything else.. So a perfect mix for me so far.
It was pretty busy by the time I was done, but I took my time with Lit and rubbed him down before sticking him back in his stall. And then I was promptly beat for the rest of the afternoon haha.