While Linda is on vacation, I have taken a few moments to ride Sable, if only to keep reminding her that we love her and she hasnt been forgotten about!
On Tuesday I was booked to do a lesson on her with Lynn, the coach at Hunter Green where she now lives and of course, connected to Halton Place where I work on weekends. It was also my first time riding in the most gorgeous arena ever. Usually I am just in there to lunge or deliver horses to their riders. What a different view from the saddle! One feels very important in that arena!
Immediately in our lesson, I learned that I was walking wrong. Yes, walking. Immediate blow to my self esteem there! She had me use an alternating leg on Sable to keep her moving and really pushed my ankles in toward her body… owwie! I forgot how to bend that way! Of course, I needed constant reminding of this. Also, I was told my legs were too far back… opposite to what I usually hear from Margie. Now I am not sure if it IS just conflicting styles or if perhaps since I always had leg too far forward, I have now been overcompensating and bringing my leg TOO far back. I guess I will find out once Margie is well enough again to give me lessons. Part of the troubles is off the trail, Sable is pokey. I can’t remember the last time I rode a pokey horse and of course, I ride differently as a result.
After lots of me fumbling through this new way of walking, we moved up to the trot, in which she found just as many things I needed to work on. I need to be more relaxed in my lower back when posting. She said the way I posted wasnt wrong (just traditional), but it wasnt right for Sable who prefered her rider to be looser and smaller while posting. So my goal was to post as if I weren’t posting. Hard to break old habits, but I got it after about 5 minutes of practising and Sable relaxed, lowered her head and was trotting beautifully.
We did move up into the canter which was a “zoom!” time for us. After a few laps careening around the arena, I was able to hear Lynn whisper yelling “Hunt seat” and rose as much as I could in the dressage stirrups without tipping my weight forward. It was slightly effective and we called it a night. I guess sitting back iin dressage style doesnt provide the same results in Sable as it does Bentley. Its very good for me to change it up and ride different horses!
I also rode her Friday night and put to practise these things I learned. Yes, she walked more forward with the alternating leg, and it only took a few minutes from her to get from crazy Arab-head trot to come down into frame and (almost) Bentley style trot. She was going around better than I had ever seen her. Of course, it still feels weird going from Bentleys super-fancy dressage-bred warmblood trot, to the motion of arab trot, but the frame was nice and we both enjoyed ourselves which is what riding is all about! We even tried canter again, and it wasnt nearly so speedy right off the bat, and after some gentle asking she was even putting her head down for a few moments at a time (I had never seen this before!) Of course, I praised her immensely.
Did I mention that while I was on vacation, Linda rode Bentley? She agrees too, its nice to switch up horses now and then, and I could tell she loved him too, she even offered to keep exercising him on days when I cant get to the barn. Horsey-swap is a wonderful game!