Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Lesson 3, 4, 5 - all about straightness

Lesson three was fun, we did a lot of lateral movement. We re-introduced the haunches in, haunches out, and shoulder out at both the walk and trot. The lessons have been 50% walk, 35% trot, and only 15% canter and it is actually working very well. Mia is starting to develop more muscle, as am I, so that her tempo doesn't change as much when laterals are used for a longer period of time because she has the strength to do them. I wish I had taken the time to write down more of lesson 3, as while it was building on what we learned in lesson 1 and 2, there was a lot of good information.

I was still doing the walk transition requests slightly wrong, too much hip movement and I was looking like a more like a pole dancer than a rider. Less is more, need to teach myself how to move less and not brace as much. When I ride, I tighten up and it affects Mia's movement even when I think I am asking her to do more. When I was finally able to ask Mia to do a half pass without being tight in my hips and thighs? Mia marched her little self right over to the wall without bracing and slowing her tempo. Who knew, right? SMDH

This makes me super happy!

Lesson 4 was short at Mia had tweaked a muscle in her lower left hind. She wasn't lame, but when we asked her to do laterals, she was very resistant when we asked her to use her left hind. For example her canter went from lovely to feeling like we were circling left, but aimed well to the right while riding a camel. She was super inverted and unhappy when we were doing anything that really worked that left hind. We instead did a lot of walk laterals and played with turn on the haunches and turn on the forehand. It turns out that I don't actually ride a turn on the haunches well at all. When we aren't pivoting on our front legs, we are doing a walk pirouette. Which is harder than a turn on the haunches. Go figure, I never knew! Our half passes were really good when I didn't brace and don't allow Mia to lead with her haunches. Learning exactly how to balance the request was nice.

I am really enjoying learning some of the nuances of the movements, broken down into small sentences. I have done shoulder in with 4 different trainers but this is the first one who has said I have now "Mastered" the shoulder in. I told her I won't go that far, but I understand it inside and out now. Reading helped, watching helped, instruction helped, but having her break it down while I was doing it made it click for me. #Win

We are working it!

Last night's lesson (#5) was really good, it was a canter session and we worked HARD. As we warmed up, A commented that she can already see changes in Mia's movement as after 4 lessons Mia is already walking straighter than she did when we started taking lessons. She complimented our homework skills several times, and said she would gladly fire all of her students if she could get more students like me who want to learn, ask questions, and work hard on their homework.  ❤️❤️❤️

The canter work was about really making Mia work her abductor muscles and getting those muscles to build next. Lots of canter transitions, lots of shoulder in at the canter (HARD!), and getting Mia to really carry herself was on the agenda. We found my outside hand HATES being low and my inside hand LOVES to be grabby. It is super hard to change habits, but slowly but surely we are chipping away.

Look how STRAIGHT Mia is!!!!

My big takeaway from this last lesson is I need to find a way to stop bracing my lower body. I do not need to be a contortionist to ride my mare (who knew!) and I need to be much more open, free, and soft. I also need to really work on re-educating my hands (again) to be softer, steadier, more consistent, and more in the "right place" which is apparently not my crotch. HA!

My homework is canter work, though next week's lesson may already be cancelled. It is supposed to be really cold and I will only have ridden 2x because I am going to Chicago for work. We will see how it goes, though homework never ends  and we will just keep working at all of this!