Sunday, February 14, 2010

Riding Lesson

Last night I started taking riding lessons again, it's been over three years since my last lesson, way past due for anther one! :-) My instructor is Allison, who has been training and showing other people's horses in dressage for a number of years in this area, she also instructs and comes highly recommended by a few people who I trust to know. We worked on a few things, the main thing being my leg position at the trot and then my body position. I'm not sure how best to describe it, but basically it was using an internal pulling up, crunches style, of my core muscles to get my horse moving forward, rather than pushing with my seat. The last thing, once I was doing that fairly consistently was to actually open up my hip angle and relax my seat muscles in order to drop my leg under me and take the horses movement/shock, through my supple back, rather than just jarring. I have to say, riding the sitting trot in this fashion was soooooo easy!!, it actually felt wonderful too, much more natural and every aspect of the horses movement was then right there for me to influence with my seat. I know this might sound a bit out there, but have any of you seen Avatar?, well, I imagine, this sort of riding, opening your hip angle, leaning a bit more back than you might think is correct, releasing as you really relax your seat muscles, and just allow your back to swing, seems like the closest thing we humans can get to the sort of connection that was depicted Hollywood style. The feedback of information and ease of influencing my horse, was so clear and obvious, it was, for me, a whole new awareness and experience, perhaps one of the most amazing riding moments of my life. It was one of those "ah ha!" moments that was such a terrific breakthrough for me.
Since last night's ride went so well, of course, I had to try it again today on my own horse, without the guidance of my instructor...
I started off with Xandra, by playing some ground games, who was awesome btw!! She's a little over three years now and I intend to start her under saddle late in the summer, although only a little and pretty easy going with a small rider, sadly, not myself. I then trimmed her front hooves, which she was very good about!
Then I took Lyra out, she's in season. Considering last night's riding lesson, and how excited I was to repeat last night with my own horse, I probably should have just put Lyra back out in the field, but, of course, I didn't. Lyra was, well, very exciting on the lunge to start, wouldn't settle, took quite some time to stop being, well, very naughty. I finally got her to focus some and settle a little and then mounted up, I really should have just used today for some serious ground work and given up on my idea of trying last night's new found knowledge, out, but still i wasn't ready to give that hope up. Of course, Lyra went back to being pretty bad. I find her antics somewhat amusing most of the time, we've only had a hand full of rides together this year so far and her antics are few and far between and never anything I consider, for me, at all serious. I can't say as that I blamed her today and especially not with her hormones being in full swing, however, of course, all that said, she has to listen and be somewhat obedient even at this stage of her learning. Anyway, suffice it to say I did NOT have a repeat of last night's lesson, but I did have a good training ride. After about an hour Lyra did finally start to come around and realize she wasn't getting anywhere fast with her little head tosses, leaps, and tiny bucks followed quickly with short stops and lifting her front end into almost a rear but not quite. She was rather full of herself to say the least. Here is a pic of Lyra and I, not great, but ok, a start for us to move forward from, it was raining when we began btw, in case anyone wants to know how we have such great green, it is due to our daily showers. :-) It was warm though, so not too bad, and if I am going to get good at what I am trying to accomplish I'm going to have to ride rain or shine, work or no, plan on every day. And No, I am not looking for riding critiques, just sharing last night's learning and then today's learning; very different working on me and then working on my green horse.

So, I'll be riding Lyra a lot more regularly now, whether or not she's in the mood for it, it's good for her to realize she has a job, since, riding will be what her life consists of from here on out. :-) All in all it was a great day!! Lyra and I both have a lot of work to do, should be fun improving together though, I am really looking forward to our journey!!


  1. Heather, awesome on your "aha" moment! That is good to hear,and your description makes me want to take lessons as well. Lyra looks absolutely lovely, even though she was full of it. Your green there is so beautiful to my eyes at present, please keep the posts and pictures coming to those of us in frigid temps. I always enjoy your posts anyway because your love of your horses shines through.

  2. Heather, sounds like a great lesson. how wonderful that you've found a good instructor, it really can make all the difference...

    I would guess regular exercise probably helps balance out hormones and hormone cycles for mares but I don't really know for sure. I've heard a lot of people feed raspberry leaves to help mares who have very noticeable symptoms when in heat.

    What a gorgeous picture, glad you got out there to ride!