My Weekly Riding Lesson – Outside Shoulder is Forward, I’m Up!
That might sound like an odd title for a blog post, but if you have ever had to learn diagonals while riding, it might make a little more sense, but more on that later…
I was a little nervous driving to my riding lesson this week. Las week my trainer was sick, and I mean really sick, and yet she still gave me my lesson, she’s a trooper. But she felt horrible, and she asked if I felt ok putting Ringo away, and she was going to leave. So while I was excited, I also was a little nervous after I left. I kept wondering if I did everything I was supposed to do, or if I had forgotten to do anything. But thankfully, I must have done ok, because she said she didn’t see that I missed anything. Then I let out a sigh of relief and got excited for my lesson this week.
Tacking up went a lot smoother, and faster. By the time 6:00 PM came, I was tacked up and ready to ride. This is a good thing, because this meant I got an entire hour in the saddle.
The Warm Up
I love how my trainer starts of every lesson. It’s almost like a little recap of the prior lessons. We worked on two point at a walk, rising trot and then two point at the trot. There were more people in the arena tonight though, so that added a new element to consider during the lesson. I was grateful for the warm up and recap to help set my mind where it needed to be, and get into a comfortable rhythm with Ringo again.
She also said my leg was better tonight, like it had found where it needed to be, it was nice to hear that, and it made me thin about my leg position for a minute. This was good, because I had not been really thinking about it. But the work we have done up to this point is paying off. I am not thinking about where my leg needs to be, it’s just there. How cool is that?!?!?
New Things To Learn
After a nice compliment, and warm up it was time to get to work. And we picked up pretty much where we left off last week with rising trot, but there was a lot more focus on my diagonals. This has been an area for me that I honestly had no idea of when I was on the correct diagonal, or what the correct diagonal even is honestly. I just know I see people riding around the ring, and they are posting to the trot. I mean I can feel when I am on the diagonal, most of the time, but I never really understood how people did it correctly.
So instead of just guessing and waiting for her to tell me I was on the correct diagonal I stopped and asked, how do I know if I am doing this correctly? And she explained it so well.
When the horse’s outside shoulder is moving forward, your butt needs to be out of the saddle (the rising part of the rising trot). And I could see it. For the first time in over 12 years of riding English I finally got it, and it made sense! As we would move around the arena and I would pick up rising trot, I would say to myself “Outside shoulder is forward, I’m up! Outside shoulder is forward, I’m up!” And it worked. I was able to be on the correct diagonal most of the time, and when I was off, I could self correct.
We also worked over ground poles again too. And this time she helped me to sit tall while going over the poles instead of leaning forward. She explained to me that if I lean forward, and tense up, the horse will feel it. And if something were to go wrong, I would most likely lose my balance, and probably interfere with what the horse is trying to do. So if I feel myself getting nervous, sit up tall, and make my leg longer by driving my heels down.
I did as she said, and you know what? It worked. I was able to get over the rails without interfering with my horse. He could do his job, and I just concentrated on sitting tall in the saddle. We worked n this both directions of the arena several times.
I did pretty good, most of the time. I did have a few moments where I felt the stirrup irons bouncing around, meaning I was not putting enough weight into my heels. I still need work with that. But I am learning, and I am improving. I can feel it, and my trainer can see it.
In only 4 short weeks, I am improving. I can feel how Ringo responds to me, and my confidence level is growing. I’m not quite ready to gallop around the arena, but I can definitely tell a difference. Especially when I think back to how it felt trotting around the arena for the first time, worrying about everything. Thinking the horse was going too fast. Worrying about what could happen instead of just going with it.
Yes, I feel I am making progress. And the thing I enjoy the most about every lesson is that I am learning something new. And every individual new thing I learn helps to progress my riding. I am getting better!
Takeaways From This Weeks Lesson
- For better leg position in two-point, press my ankle toward the horse’s body
- Outside shoulder is forward, I’m up!
- When I get nervous, sit tall in the saddle all the way down through my heels.
- Continue to go with the flow
Not as many takeaways as previous lessons, but important nonetheless. I am so grateful I have found this trainer, and that she is so close. I have come to really look forward to Thursday’s every week, and I cannot wait until the temperature is above freezing while I am riding. I think that will help me to enjoy every lesson, that much more! Come on summer! And my husband has told me he is going to come watch, video, and photograph me while I am taking a lesson once it gets warm, so instead of finding random photos to share with you, I will be able to share with you photos from when I am actually riding. Again, come on warm weather!
If you would like to go back to the beginning of reading about my weekly riding lessons you can, right here: