Friday, March 30, 2012

Lesson Day(s): Buddy, & a Canter "Fail"

Last night was SO not pretty.  I hadn't had a chance to ride since last week, and I could really tell.  Plus I forgot and wore looser jeans than I should have.  They kept bunching and creeping up, and I couldn't get a good grip on anything with my calves.  Poor Buddy - he was so confused. 

Despite my jeans, we were doing fairly well at walk and trot.  Eric had me go ahead and ask for a canter transition.  I hadn't cantered Buddy yet, and it wasn't a good night to start.  Wrong lead.  I wasn't getting him set up well - and to be fair, he was anticipating. But eventually we got coordinated enough to get the correct lead. 

The actual canter was a lot springier than I was expecting, and again, I couldn't keep my leg steady.  I'd get my legs in place, he'd interpret it as a cue to speed up, and I'd automatically release and lose my leg position.... Yeesh!  Plus, he likes to GO!  Which isn't the most comfortable feeling when your seat doesn't feel as secure as it should. 

Of course, eventually we had to come back down.  Getting to trot took four laps (we were using just half the arena).  Not completely Buddy's fault - he definitely wasn't running away or going faster, he just thought I wanted him to collect.  His canter kept getting rounder and slower and rockier...  Which would have been fantastic, except that wasn't what I was asking for....

Thankfully, today went much better.  In breeches and half-chaps, I had some extra stick-um and I could hold my lower leg where it belonged much better. Walk and trot weren't noticeably better (but they were pretty good yesterday, so that's okay).  But with my leg on and staying in place, canter was greatly improved.  I need to remember to prepare by sitting deep, leaning back, and being really be firm about moving his hip over.  And to close both legs on him when I ask.  I was taking my inside calf off completely - which Eric could see, once I didn't have flappy pants legs getting in the way. 

Getting back down to trot went better, too.  Just like going up, I need to sit deep, stretch up and back with my shoulders, close both legs around him, and say "whup-trot!" while I half-halt.  And just like going up, I need to keep my legs closed on him until he trots.  When everything's coordinated properly, he really sits down.  As in right NOW.

We didn't do a full, formal lesson either day, really.  Last night I shared my time slot with one of his junior riders, and tonight he worked a couple of different horses while I rode so he was in and out.  Which is fine with me - I get his undivided attention during the stuff I'm having more issues with, like canter and canter transitions, and I can work on the basic, quiet stuff more on my own.  When he sees something he wants adjusted he tells me, or if he's handy, I ask.  A lot of it is a matter of Buddy and I figuring one another out and getting comfortable with one another. 

That being said, I'll ride Buddy tomorrow, as well.  Since it's Saturday, a bunch of the kids will be riding, too so chances are I'll get to watch a lesson or two, which is always a plus. And I'm hoping maybe I can convince one of them to take some pictures.  

The extra ride this week is because next week all Eric's horses get their spring vetting, which means vaccinations, Coggins, hock injections for those that need them, and I think the show farrier and a chiropractor are coming, too.  They get two days off after all that, so since my schedule is bad for the end of the week, I'm going to take Sunny over for a lesson Wednesday.  Which works out well, because I think it's time I got more homework for the two of us.

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