Thursday, May 2, 2013

Clinic x2

I rode with Danny again yesterday. The ride from our barn next door wasn't as bad this time. Spyder was a little spooky, but he knew I was worried. We got to the farm in one piece and even got to ride all the way into the ring. He was much more calm this time which was great.

We worked out in the ring near the jumps to give Spyder something to look at, and he didn't care about anything - not even the other riders jumping or the flower boxes. Danny asked me what I wanted to work on and that was the same items as last time and my posture. I do think that we both need help - him being green and me being a sloppy rider - how do you get anywhere? I was assured that posture would help teach him, as well. I had to work on sitting up and using my lower back muscles which was a workout! I found my seat bone and had to lean forward and backward to get a feel for the different seats. When I was using both left and right seat bones and allowing them to move with Spyder, he was very relaxed and brought his head down which was awesome to see happen. We were working together and not against each other. We walked for a while, and I learned how and where to use the power to get him to stop with posture and legs versus the reins (but needed them because he doesn't get it yet). It's so much to think about!

So, sitting up tall, and bringing my knee forward and my heel down, we worked on stopping. First we did it 25 times at the walk - first think about it (release leg pressure from your calves and tighten up your thighs), then close your fingers for pressure, then pull back a little, pull back a lot, then use leverage. It was so hard to do while figuring out posture! It was nice to see that by the end, we were doing very slow and smooth stops rather than head jerking and forceful movements. We did that exercise at the trot once we got it down at the walk, but the right was a lot worse than the left as always. We worked on first tell him to move over, then tell him your serious, then make him if he doesn't listen. He moved over! Oh, we even did a little funky gait that Danny called the "Puerto Rican Shuffle"... haha.

Listening ears...

Then we went back to what we worked on the following week - listening and turning. Direction and speed - keeping the speed constant, looking forward, and telling Spyder where we are going to go. We did this in a serpentine around 3 jumps which were tight considering the large gait he has, but it was easier than expected... with instruction. Danny helped me to calm down, relax, sit up tall, and move around the jumps quietly. I think it was the most quiet ending to any ride I have ever had with control, and Spyder was waiting for the cue to find out what to do next. We rode back to the other barn with one scene in the driveway and a few spooks, but it was the first time I knew I could handle it. We had to keep moving, and I had to tell him what to do. We made it, and it was great! :)

Our ride back - it was a beautiful day!