Finally a great ride to brag and beam about! Today was lesson day and it was AWESOME! But first, a brief explanation of yesterday.
|Wooo! Back in the saddle again!|
Between working and playing around with bareback, I hadn't ridden with a saddle for about two weeks. So, I tacked up, and hopped on. Considering what I've seen lately (namely perfect ground manners and manners ranging anywhere from perfect to atrocious under saddle), I decided to skip my standard groundwork check-in and hop right on. Jazz was pretty darn good. I mean, it wasn't like I was doing high-pressure stuff that's really hard for either of us, but she was awesome. We did trot poles, and she was so happy. She would keep trying to convince me to come back around to them whenever we were doing a breather lap or approaching from a different turn, and she went at them ears pricked straight forwards and excited. Future jumper? Maybe.
So, today was my lesson. The weather was beautiful (hot, at over 30 degrees, but beautiful), and I went with my English tack again. I by no means am giving up on western riding, but I just think I'll see more improvement in my riding overall if I stick with trying to get better in the English saddle for a while. Either way, we started off doing 20m circles at the far end of the arena, and moved into posting trot. My instructor had me working on a lot of little things to improve my overall form, keeping my heels down, keeping my leg on, and keeping my hands really low and quiet. I was having a lot of trouble keeping my irons where they were supposed to be, especially my right foot. My heels kept creeping up, making the irons come back towards my heel, and making it much harder to keep my heels down. My hands were also pretty good, but still moving around a bit, so my trainer had me grabbing mane to help stabilize them and get an idea of how far down I should be holding them, and it was a huge help.
I am a firm believer in trying not to judge something too quickly. I always like to give both people and experiences a chance before deciding whether or not I don't like them. So, based on what I've read and heard from English riders in the past, I seem to be in possession of an unpopular opinion. What I'm trying to say is that the next thing I did in my lesson was ride without stirrups for the first time and I LOVED IT. I crossed my stirrups over Jazz's neck and did posting trot and suddenly every single thing my instructor had been saying that i'd been trying to translate to proper position made complete sense. She'd been explaining how to glue my legs and just work from my core to post and as soon as I didn't have stirrups I was doing it! My instructor explained that I should hold my legs in what would be the ideal position if I still had my stirrups and still post just with my upper body, and I felt a hundred times more secure and balanced. After a couple minutes of that, I took up my stirrups again, and it was going way better. Still a little sliding around in my stirrups, but significantly better.
Finally, we moved to trying out my new super-glued legs at the canter. We were tracking left, so I worked on left lead first. It took a few tries to get a good transition, but she took off eventually, and my legs stayed in place pretty well for it. Jazz has always struggled with her canterwork, and has never been very balanced. All we've really worked on is transitions into and out of it a little, and a fair amount of work on asking for correct leads going whole arena. So, Jazz's 20m circles were more like 20m weird ovals that need work. She's just always found it easier to drop her shoulder and careen around unbalanced than to actually engage and collect enough to be capable of turning. Needless to say dressage tests with canter are not in our near future. That being said, we moved to the right lead, which is my bad side but Jazz's good lead, and it went decently well. Again with the weird circles, but it sounded like that's something my trainer wants to work on sometime soon, so that'll come soon enough.
After my lesson, I did a little pampering. Jazz is not a hose fan, so I did a little introductory work. She's still not really comfortable, but she was investigating it a little, though spraying even her legs wasn't really in the question for today. The wash area isn't really much of one, its just dirt and a hose with no nozzle, so if I mess around too long, it gets muddy. Also, the water is just a sort of constant trickle, which isn't the most helpful to introducing the hose. Oh well, add it to the list of things to work on more regularly (along with the flag and figuring out what I want to do with her mane and tail because they're starting to get scraggly). I also braided her mane because the other day she was all sweaty underneath it so I wanted it off her neck to keep her cool. Naturally several pictures were taken.
|It's hot. I'm sleepy|
|Okay that's enough pictures|
|Just get my good side|
|Yeah that's the spot|