Friday, October 5, 2012

Finally Listened to My Trainer

I don't try to tune my trainer out, really I don't. I think it is more that when I am riding, I'm only kinda listening. I've got so many other things going on - feels like 400+ things to do/keep track of in the saddle (relax left leg, sit up, use abs, look up, don't let him pull you forward...blah blah) that sometimes, I just miss stuff, or hear it and forget it, as it isn't part of what is keeping me alive and upright in the saddle in the moment.

However, having had a boost of confidence this week and a bit of an upswing, I've been able to recall a bit more of my past lessons. One of those things have been transitions. Let me tell you, I've always kind of hated transitions. I know, its a weird thing to hate. But really, I kinda like to put my car/horse in gear and just coast at that speed with very little intervention from me. This is probably why I prefer forward horses, if even a bit hot. Those horses, while really fun to ride, have allowed me to become quite complacent, and I very clearly have holes in my riding abilities because I never really learned how to motivate a horse.

Left to his own devices, Ben is a major quitter. I have tried, and failed to muscle, if even bully him through it. And I'm finally learning that this just doesn't work with a sulky horse. Now that I've been riding in a saddle that helps me keep my position, I'm realizing this. I'm no longer fighting 2 things, now its just him and I.

I don't want to fight my horse, it is just not right. The other day my trainer was telling me about her rides with him the previous couple of days, and how she did about a million transitions with him, and how it helps him get more forward. At first I was like, "huh?" How can transitions, especially downward ones, get him thinking forward? Won't all this stop/start/stop just piss him off?

NOPE! Transitions are KEY. It gets his brain going. It gets him to understand quick pressure with the leg. It gets him balanced and easier to ride between the transitions. I played with this last night. You have no idea how hard it was for me to let go of my own desires to just put him in gear and leave him there. Instead, we played, a lot, with transitions. And as it turns out, little by little, the time spent between the transitions got better! Soon i was able to do what I wanted-  leave him in gait for longer periods of time. And the time spent in gait was quality.

And as it turns out, doing transitions isn't so bad when your body doesn't hurt. I actually found myself enjoying it, thinking, tweaking, and having fun, and not being in pain. I wasn't in my fetal-pre-death position in mind or body.

Definitely something to chew on

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