My Weekly Riding Lesson
Well for the first time I did not do as well in my weekly riding lesson. The lesson itself was great. My trainer was supportive and kind. I was just not riding well. And I learned a valuable lesson today, which I will share with you after I fill you in on the lesson.
Every Lesson Isn’t Perfect
I was pretty happy it was warmer for my lesson. The temperature was around 45 degrees, which I find perfect to ride. But it was incredibly windy. And even Ringo seemed to be a little bit off, or that could just be me reading too much into the situation. He was being a little bit of a butt when I went to catch him, that has never happened before. And looking back at the lesson, maybe I was setting myself up with my constant inner dialogue of worry. I really need to stop that.
But after I got him to the barn, I had to wait for the lesson in progress to be done, because they only have one 17.5” saddle and it was being used. I did get Ringo all ready to go though, with everything but the saddle. So by the time I got my saddle, we were already 15 minutes into my riding time. That didn’t bother me though, I like hanging out in the barn, and watching others ride, and be with their horses, it gives me ideas.
Into The Arena
When I took Ringo into the arena and climbed up, everything was good. I felt comfortable, and happy to be riding. And then we started to work on rising trot and Ringo was just not really in the mood. I was trying to get him more forward, and moving, but he just wasn’t into it. After about 4 laps around the arena, my trainer thought maybe I needed to hold a crop, and that is exactly what I needed to do. Once Ringo knew I had the crop, he perked up instantly. And it wasn’t that I was using the crop on him, but just the fact that I had it, he knew.
And it’s funny, I didn’t think about that because I must do the same thing with Frisby. When he gets lazy, which is every time I ride him, all I have to do is grab a crop and carry it, and then he works very well.
But back to Ringo. I had been working so hard to get him to go, my legs already felt like jello 10 minutes into my lesson. I had worked twice as hard as I normally do at this point, and I was already tired.
We continued with rising trot around the arena and my trainer made the comment I didn’t have to try to post so high, meaning it looked like I was launching myself out of the saddle. And I have no idea why this was happening. I was trying to be relaxed, but I was coming really far out of the saddle. My stirrups seemed a little longer than it did in my previous lesson, so maybe that had something to do with it? Who knows, but whatever the reason, I felt stiff, and looked stiff (apparently) even though I was trying to be relaxed.
Time For Ground Poles
This was a super fun part of my lesson. My rising trot seemed a little better, but not much, over the poles. They had 4 ground poles set up in a cross like pattern, So the idea was to ride down the center of each pole, in a circle. This was fun! First we did posting trot, I still have a hard time figuring out my diagonal, but I did it, and I didn’t tug on Ringo’s mouth at all. I stayed balanced, and was so happy with how everything was going, and then that changed…
The Dreaded Knee Grip
Once I was successful with rising trot over the rails, then it was time to go into my two-point over the rails. And I was not having a good go with this. For whatever reason, I had reverted back to gripping with my knees. Which made it hard to remain in a balanced two-point position. By gripping with my knees, my lower leg slipped back, and I kind of collapsed forward onto Ringo. This made it very difficult to stay balanced, so I kept finding myself dropping my hands to his neck so I would not fall forward.
We took it a step back, and my trainer kept letting me know when I would grip with my knees, and tell me to push my leg back a little, and I kept trying but I continued to grip with my knees for some reason.
We were getting to the end of the lesson, and she wanted me to do the ground poles until I showed at least a little bit of improvement, so we could end on a good note. And I did try. In the end, I did end up doing it sort of right, but it was definitely a challenge!
Takeaways From This Weeks Lesson
My biggest takeaway from my lesson this week was that every lesson may not be perfect, but I can always learn something. I learned that I really need to work on my legs, and not grip with my knees. This will be my focus before next week. Even if I have to ride around on Frisby and try to get him to trot, so I can work on my two-point. When I am doing a two-point position, even on my own, I can tell when I am doing it correctly. If I am not collapsing onto the neck of my horse, I am doing it right. If I am hunching over, and collapsing forward, I am gripping with my knees. I like this because I don’t need to have my trainer with me, and I can continue to work on it by myself. This is so cool!
And I will be able to work more at home because the time change is this weekend, which means an extra hour of daylight in the evening, so I can ride when I get home from work. I will make Frisby be my go to horse for now, and then transition to Ethan. But Frisby is my ‘schoolmaster’. I can basically hop on him and go. And even though he is like a tank and requires me to work a little harder to get him going, he is safe and pretty much bomb proof.
Looking Forward To Next Week
I am not letting my performance this week get me down. I didn’t ride well, but this is ok. It gives me goals to work on before my lesson next week. And at home right now, my incredible husband is helping me to expand my riding arena size. And we are even going to put a fence in so I will have a ‘real’ riding arena. Once this is completed, I think it will help me to emulate the indoor arena. Which means I will be able to ride more each week at home.
I know I am improving. My confidence level is so much greater than what it was when I started my lessons. I am confident I will continue to improve, especially because I am not afraid. So even though my form was less than perfect during my lesson, my confidence level is higher than it ever has been, and I call that a win for my lesson this week.
If you would like to read about my earlier lessons, you can find them below: