Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Oh, NOW I remember what a slow trot feels like

It was music night for Steve again, and Katie is off on a non-date, so both our horses got out tonight. Bar got a good roll, romp, and ground work session and Lena reminded me that there is such a thing as a trot that doesn't bounce you out of the saddle and rattle your back teeth together.

Bar gave me some good head and neck flexes and then we did some bareback work, mostly just because we both like it. It's not super comfortable, mind you. There has to be a very delicate balance between his bony spine and my tailbone, but we can manage it for a little while--at a walk only--to work on my seat and his response to it.

I have not ridden Lena in months and decided to try the English saddle on her so I could practice with a horse who has steadier gaits than Bar does right now. It allowed me to work on things like my seat, overall balance, and leg position--all of which I'm still muddling through with that saddle--rather than my usual focus of trying to figure out the best way to tell him what I want.

Ah, what a nice trot she has.

Actually, Lena has three distinct trots. First is the slow jog you can sit, then-- when you ask her by starting to post--she moves into her next speed, and finally there is her extended trot where hovering is best unless you can post faster than I have yet mastered. Not only will she go up in speed on command (mostly), she will down-shift as well. I used to work with her on that a lot when I rode her more, and she remembered without too much effort.

I love Bar, and we have made so much progress, but cruising along on Lena reminded me we have a lot to work on--from smoothing out his trot to both of us being a lot more relaxed, not necessarily in that order. Lena also helped me remember that my riding skills are not all that terrible after all, and that might have been the biggest help of all.

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