Lesson Notes 4/12/14

Radar is the best little lesson horse. <3 He gave his little heart out for the Pony Clubbers today (one of the kids even got a left-lead canter out of him!), and still had the steam to power through my lesson. A little saint, he is.

I was more relaxed today than I have been riding (definitely not a natural rider, me). My thighs were a bit tense at first, but after dropping the stirrups and lengthening my thigh, everything kind of went into their proper places without much fuss. Thanks, muscle memory.

I’m still struggling to get the toes on my left foot to lift instead of press down, but that’s something that will smooth over with time and practice. And lots of fun with a resistance band.

I didn’t feel at all clench-y, though I didn’t notice this at first until it was pointed out to me during the canter. I could shift my legs a little bit back and forth and my knees up and down without feeling like I needed to cling to the saddle. And I’m not almost never scared to canter any more, at least not on Radar. Progress! Now, if only I could ask for canter without grabbing the pommel of the saddle to get my seat down. >_>

Sweet bby Radar’s trot was massively pleasing today. Long, bouncy strides and a lifted back made for a super smooth sitting trot experience. And he doesn’t need to be pushed too much any more for a decent trot from the get-go, which is a relief for my legs. It helps that he’s stopped checking up on me to see if I “mean it.”  My abs are sore, though, heh.

Note to self: Oblique crunches are your friend. Start ASAP.

Left-lead canter was much more balanced than last week. And he made it a couple of circles before puttering out! A few wrong leads to start, but his canter depart wasn’t shifty at all. I really hope he continues to improve, knock on wood. 

Sudden realization that I’ve spent nine months on the lunge-line now, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. :) Now, why didn’t my first riding instructors do this with me to start?

Lesson Note 4/6/14

What an awesome lesson this was! Radar felt really up today, and he even offered up left-lead canter just because. I suspect it’s because of the increase in temperature, but whatever - I’ll take it. :)

2/3rds of the lesson was reins-less, and the last third was me trying to figure out how to keep my seat as neat and effective as it is on the lunge. 

My seat feels more solid, but my lower legs are kind of a mess. My left toes hate flexing up and instead press down, and my right foot tends to swing forward during sitting trot. In the end, it’s a matter of constantly being conscious of what my feet are doing at any given time. I concentrate so much on making sure my knee is free and loose, and that my spine is straight, and my seatbones are evenly weighed, and how to keep Radar going at a consistent speed that I just don’t notice what the hell my toes are doing (usually pointing down because fuck you, dance). 

After a load of adjusting and tweaking, I finally felt like my legs were more stable. It hurt my ankles a bit, though, to have them in the right position. They’re very flexible to the left and right, but ask them to sink down, and NOPE. 

My seat is bouncier! Heh, that’s fun to say. And true - I no longer feel like sitting Radar’s trot is an invitation for him to slow down and stop. I’m carrying the energy through me, not blocking it. Sadly, I couldn’t coax a huge trot out of him this time, but at least you could tell he was putting effort into his strides. 

Everyone’s so proud of Radar because his left-lead canter, while still weak, is improving with each week! I got two really good upward transitions out of him to the left, and though his canter only lasted about a circle and a half, it was definitely longer than he could hold it last week. Apparently, when he’s tired, his right hind will sort of hop and he’ll slow to a trot. 

Off the lunge, I found a lot of old bad habits coming back. Like collapsing my side in order to turn. Sort of fixed that temporarily by turning to the outside instead, shifting my weight to the outside. It feels so counter-intuitive to me - turning the opposite way of where I want him to turn. But eh, it works. He obligingly gave me bend on both sides and even kicked up a nice trot by the end. I’m not ready to be off the lunge completely, but it was nice to dip my toe in the water for a little bit. 

—-

Bonus:

Radar’s fortune cookie fortune:

"Tomorrow will be a productive day. Don’t oversleep."

HA. He is a hard worker and a hard sleeper. Majestic Fjord doesn’t have to choose.

Tags: personal

Donnerschlag and Donnerhall

Lesson Notes 3/30/14

Highlight of the lesson was getting the left-lead canter twice, immediately after I asked - no hesitation or shifting balance. Woohoo! Go Radar! 

For the rest, we were mostly focusing on getting my left leg to cooperate. It’s my looser leg, but it’s hell to get my toes to lift instead of pointing down. 

My balance was more than a little off today, so we did some up-up-down and mini two-point in the trot. Radar’s really sensitive to changes in the rider’s balance because of his front-heaviness, so if you get even a little bit ahead of him, he has no choice but to drag to a stop. 

I learned about Radar’s limits in terms of collection and suppleness in the neck. He has a very short, thick neck with a kind of full throatlatch (?) that’s built more for power, so when steering, it’ll always be a bit of a battle to get his neck supple. Collection is a very slight thing for him - he can’t sit back on his hind enough to get the kind of upward motion needed. He can collect, but you have to check yourself - don’t ask for too much at a time. Give/release your abdominal muscles to help him continue. 

Radar and I are getting more in tune with each other. I don’t really need to push him as hard I did when I first started riding him, and he’s a lot more responsive and willing. And there’s less questioning (except in the canter, sometimes) from him - that “hey, do you REALLY mean it?” feeling is absent the majority of the time. 

I just feel more confident in my seat/position right now, and that’s a pretty rare and lovely feeling. :) Also, I was told that Radar and I make a fitting team, so ego boost! 

There’s hope for me yet.

Tags: personal

"I see a treat dispenser on two legs, but no treats. What gives??"

"I see a treat dispenser on two legs, but no treats. What gives??"

(Source: fictionalistic)

(Source: fictionalistic)

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(Source: fictionalistic)

Tags: personal

(Source: fictionalistic)

Tags: personal

(Source: fictionalistic)

Tags: personal

(Source: fictionalistic)

Tags: personal

(Source: fictionalistic)

Tags: personal