Sunday, April 3, 2016

Got that lesson in

Excellent..... Even though my lesson with Kelly was cancelled for Thursday, she ended up coming to Ashland on Saturday and invited me to ride. I was able to go to my nephews baptism and first communions and then make it in time for my lesson and get back in time for the farrier. Perfect!!
(oh man... did I mention how much I LOVE this horses' canter?!)
My new saddle arrived too! It's basically the exact same one as the one Cindy loaned me in the meantime, but with long billets. Yay! Time to break it in right.

Kelly was running a little late so I went out for a hack in the XC field and did the hill 3-4 times while they finished up. Danny was a bit rowdy and reared going up the hill at one point. Yeah... rearing while already uphill is about as fun as bucking while going downhill. Why he insists on fighting gravity is beyond me! It wasn't bad though, although he continued to dance and prance. We had some very collected trot and canters. I was trying to maintain decorum and not get the other young horse riled up during their lesson, so we managed to shut it down and went back to hang with them while they finished. 
Once in the ring though Danny was initially acting like he was tired. However, he really did great. We started with a grid to work on getting Dan to use his front end better. Except that it ended up switching over to work on me and fix my position. So poor Dan had to repeat the two stride grid repeatedly. And from a "normal" trot... which on video looks normal but while riding felt like a western jog. hee hee. And he didn't act tired at all, so... yay for fitness. :) 

So... we worked on my position, and ultimately, the grid was only going to help Dan, especially with us keeping him somewhat collected and slow so he had to rock back and use himself. My problem was that I kept tipping forward. And looking at the video now, I think my whole body gets too ahead. It's not just my shoulders and my upper body, but my butt, my hips, my everything...except my leg. That goes out behind me. So Kelly had me working on pushing my leg out in front of me, pushing my hands forward, BUT keeping my shoulders up and back. I had to learn how to move my elbows independently of my upper body. 

So I had to get Dan over the jump while focusing on ....
  1. slow and steady tempo
  2. keeping my hands on his neck, grabbing mane or neck strap (We found that if I do that, AND hold mane for at least two strides on landing, I don't immediately bring my hands back to me)
  3. keeping my shoulders up and back. (Herein lies my problem.... Instead of pushing my hands forward and my shoulders back on landing... I put my shoulders forward and row my hands back. So... the complete opposite of what I should do). 
  4. pushing my feet out in front of me a little, creating landing gear
  5. AND....while Kelly didn't stress this, I feel like I need to push my butt back a little so my whole entire body isn't so in front of him. 
So yeah... really hard to do all of that at once and ride the horse. It was much easier when he was taking the slightly longer spot than the basey one. And I found (at least I hope that what I was feeling was right) that if I focused on my hands in the mane and my bending and pushing forward elbows and shoulders, my back and legs sort of fell into place. BUT... I still really am going to have to fight that habit until it becomes more normal. 

You can see in the photos what I need to work on. Sigh.... Kelly is good!!! I can't really see this til I freeze it. :) 

So yep... lots of work, but that's okay. I really want to fix this once and for all. And Danny was amazing. He just kept clocking through like.... "I thought that *I* was the greenie mom... get your act together"!. Hee hee.. What a good baby horse.

Here's where I really messed up and almost ate it, but the baby horse just clocks on through....rolling his eyes at me ;) 
Of course at the end, because Kelly mentioned that it would be tougher for me through the grid because he was getting a little blase about it, she let me continue on over two individual fences to work on it. And he was good the first time... a little stronger the second, and then a bit bolder the third and fourth time. Hee hee. Stinker!

Lots of work, but at least I felt like I was making a little bit of progress. Now to get Kelli and Peri to help me maintain and continue to improve!!

Helpful to watch 
Towards the end 
Also towards the end 

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