Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fifth lesson with Christine

It's been several rather busy days since my lesson, so I don't remember very many details, but I'll at least give a summary of what went on. I rode Meshack as usual, and we started the lesson with a discussion of leg position. I'd seen the pictures from my last lesson (some of which are posted here), and had asked what I could do to improve my leg position. Christine told me that it wasn't something that could be fixed just by deciding to keep your leg in position. That it takes time and repeatedly correcting your leg position when you feel it's out of place, before your muscles can "remember" where your leg is supposed to be and actually hold it there. So I'll just keep trying to put my legs back and hopefully someday, they'll actually stay in place.

Next we did some walk, trot, walk transitions. I think my downward transitions are slowly improving, but I still don't get a walk as soon as I ask for one, so they still need work. We then did some trot circles (or rather ovals). My balance or something must have been off that night because I had some trouble getting Meshack to go where I wanted him to. He'd always been pretty easy to steer before, so I'm pretty sure the problem was mine, I just don't know what the problem was. Hopefully, I'll figure out what was going on and fix it, or maybe it will simply get better with practice.

We did the trot poles a few times and that went better than previously, but still not that well. I kept my balance fairly well every time, but I still couldn't quite get the rhythm right. I think that when I'd done the trot poles before I must have done them in two point, because I don't remember having this much trouble with it. Part of me kept wanting to just stay up in two point instead of trying to get the posting rhythm right. Hopefully, with practice, I'll eventually get it.

Then we did a little bit of canter in the arena. Yes. Not on a lunge line, not in the round pen, out in the wide open arena. Meshack actually picked up the canter much more easily than when we were in the round pen. He's a good lesson horse and was able to figure out what I wanted even though I'm quite sure that I wasn't giving the canter cue properly. The first time, we only cantered for about a third of the way around the arena before Christine asked me to transition back down to trot. That transition actually worked almost immediately. I don't know if my cue was more definite or Meshack was just very willing to drop out of canter. Maybe both. We trotted for a while, then gave cantering another go. Again, Meshack went into canter pretty easily. This time we cantered about two thirds of the way around the arena before Christine told me to go back to trot. And again, the downward transition was almost immediate. I did bounce around a little during both canter segments, but I didn't bounce that much. I don't know how it looked. Probably not very pretty. But it felt really good to me simply to have successfully, intentionally, cantered a horse on my own.

We ended the lesson there. It was hot, I was tired and I'd mentioned to Christine that I'd been really exhausted after our last lesson and she didn't want to exhaust me again. She'd also been good about offering me drink breaks during our lesson so that I didn't get dehydrated again. She's a really good teacher, and I continue to be glad that I found her.

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