Just Go With The Flow – My Weekly Riding Lesson
After last week, and my first professional riding lesson in more than 6 years, I thought I would share with you what I learned. I want to get the most out of each lesson that I can. So after that first lesson, I came home, and wrote down a lot of what my instructor shared with me. She is really smart, and has a great way of explaining what she wants me to do. Yes, I got that from the first lesson.
So last weekend in between building some horse jumps, and finishing up my little eBook, I decided to work on what I learned during my lesson. I saddle up the trusty and dependable horse, Frisby, and proceeded to my riding area. And I tacked him up just like she had me tack up my lesson horse Ringo. I had a standing martingale, and a pair of boots which I have rarely used in the past, but I wanted to practice as close to my riding lesson as possible.
Working On My Own At Home
After Frisby was tacked up, we went to my riding area. Now keep in mind, Frisby has not been ridden in the past month. With the holidays and cold weather, I just wasn’t able to ride. But the weather was nice, and the temperature was warm so it was a perfect day to practice what I had learned. So that is what I had planned for our at home ‘homework’ from my lesson.
And even though Frisby had not been ridden in awhile, he was as reliable as ever, and helped me to work on what I lad learned last week. I love this horse! He is truly special, and patient with me.
Standing In The Stirrups
She had me work on this first to help me find my point of balance. So I worked on standing in my stirrups. Frisby was not really sure what I was doing, but he played along without a fuss. After I felt comfortable with finding my point of balance at a standstill, I worked on standing up at a walk. Again Frisby was a trooper, and even though I don’t usually stand in the stirrups, he tolerated my antics very well.
This exercise is helpful for me, because it helps me to find my point of balance. If I am to forward, I lean and my hands fall to his neck. If I am leaning to far backward, my butt falls back to the saddle. (Gently)
Two Point Position
I really like working on my two-point position. So again, I started with going into a two point while standing still, and then walking. I would go as far as I could while keeping a balanced two-point position, and then sit back down in the saddle.
After about 25 minutes of riding, I felt like I had accomplished a little bit, so Frisby was done for the day. I did look at Ethan, but I decided to end on a good note, so Ethan got a reprieve for the day.
My Weekly Riding Lesson
So Thursday came around, and I was so excited to get to my lesson. I got to the barn about 20 minutes early, plenty of time to get Ringo from the field, but I wasn’t feeling 100% comfortable with getting Ringo by myself, so I waited for my instructor. She understood, and we set out to get Ringo together. Oh, and I did remember to bring my tall boots this time!
After he was tacked up, it was time to ride!
Going into the arena I felt confident, and we walked down the rail. We did a quick little recap of the last lesson, and quickly moved on to something new. She had me get to work right away in trot. I did posting trot, and worked on changing my diagonal. This was hard for me. I still don’t quite understand how to tell if I am on the correct diagonal. I got it a couple of times, and I could “feel” it, but I am still unsure of myself.
Then we worked on two-point position around the arena at a walk. I was glad I had practiced this! I was able to make a full revolution around the arena at a walk in two point.
And then it was time to focus on trot again. The entire time I was riding, it was in posting trot, thankfully. After working in trot for a while, my position really became unstable. And I was struggling to keep my legs still. My stirrups were flopping around like crazy, I was beginning to hunch forward and it felt like Ringo was racing around the arena. (He wasn’t)
What I Learned This Week
I have to admit, I felt a little discouraged after my lesson. But, my instructor gave me great feedback of what I can do to improve. And the thing that stuck with me the most was when she said, “Just go with the flow. The more you practice and ride, the better you will be. Don’t get tense, and just go with it. You’ll see, you will get better and better, but you got to go with the flow.”
So that is what I am going to work on this week, going with the flow.
She also gave me some pointers about working with Ethan. And since he is the one I want to show, I am going to take her advice, and do what she told me to do. Hopefully I will be getting on him today. There is a storm coming in with a lot of snow forecasted, so I have to make the most of the ‘pre-storm’ weather. Working with Ethan today, because with a foot of snow on the ground, and wind tomorrow I won’t be riding.
I think I am going to make go with the flow my motto. Not only can I apply it to my riding, but also to instances when I tend to tense up, like with this forecasted snow. I tend to worry about the weather, even though I have no control over it. I can’t change it, and regardless of what it does, I still have to drive in it. So instead of getting myself all worked up about it, I will just go with the flow and get through it.
My riding instructor is helping me in other areas of my life with the tips she gives me! Maybe I will start to chill out, and stop worrying. Probably not instantly, but eventually! See what you can learn from riding lessons? Life lessons too!
Takeaways From This Weeks Lesson
I really like reflecting on my lesson after it happens, to help me get ready for next week. I mean riding lessons are not free, so I am going to do whatever I can to get the most out of them.
What I learned from my lesson to continue practicing at home:
- where my hands need to be
- Using the outside rein, inside leg to guide the horse where I want him to go
- Relax in the saddle, don’t tense up because this will make my horse tense
- Continue working without my stirrups, and then pick them up without looking at them
- It’s ok to go faster than a walk! Continue to practice this over and over and over
And because it is going to snow tonight, I probably won’t get to ride Ethan tomorrow, but I will work with him today. Even if I don’t get up on him, he will definitely be getting some lunging and ground work. But even if I can’t ride at home, there are a few things I will do:
- Get Ethan’s saddle and other tack ready for riding
- Have Ethan’s tack organized like they do at the lesson barn
- When it stops snowing, work on ground work and tacking up Ethan at least two times before my next lesson.
- Buy the book Equitation Tips- 20+ Exercises to Improve Your Riding Position: For Dressage, Hunter, Jumper and Horseback Riding in General (Equestrian Skill Builders Book 1) It’s available on Kindle. More on this later…
This way I can start working on exercises, while I am not riding and hopefully in the next few weeks I will get better and better.
And when I am feeling a little more confident in my abilities, I am going to ask my husband to come watch, and take some photos, so I can share my progress with you, as well as ‘see’ what I really look like!