Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

It's awfully bright in here :)

hahaha had a TWO light-bulb lesson this morning. Not sure that's ever happened before :) So yeah, I'm pretty excited about that.

Background story: I have learned through many years of living with myself (scary - I know) and riding a variety of horses that when things start spiraling downward for no apparent reason, I need to take a couple days off and when I get back I'll be able to ride again. Now that's usually just about impossible to convince myself to do because when things get bad the logical response is MORE practice, not less, but sobeit.

Background story number two: I have a new pilates instructor. She is beyond amazing. I'm learning to effectively use parts of my body I only vaguely knew existed.

Background story number three - this is directly related to my ride the other day. See post below :)

Ok so the last couple of weeks I have *not* been riding well and not particularly happy about it. Pony's been going well, but I've been a bit of a disaster. So I finally clued in to what point I'd reached and deemed that Sienna would have Sat/Sun/Mon off - and so would I. Then of course it was the most amazing weather *sigh* but I didn't actually have time to ride anyways so it's all good (as if I wouldn't've made time eh?). Anyways -- she had her three days off. Then we had our fun ride (see above) and a couple decent ones and while a little apprehensive about today's lesson (I've been riding *really* poorly the last two -- did I mention that? >;-P) I felt we had a reasonable chance.

So Sienna was a *little* high when I got on, but almost settled by the time my coach got there. Anyways we did our flat warmup and all was well and then he stopped me and explained a different way he wanted me to use my back and shoulders. A way in which I would never have been able to move if it weren't for awesome new pilates instructor who taught me how to isolate those muscles all of three days ago. hahaha well I'll tell ya, when I put the two together horse's back came up and was through and relaxed. Instantly. And when I lost it (given that it is a new skill after all :) the response from my pony was instant. Were able to hold more often than not though and it worked at all three gaits. Very impressively. So that was lightbulb # 1 :) Still has a fair amount of refining to do before it'll be always available, but at least it's a start :)

Lightbulb #2 was while we were jumping. Set up was a gymnastic: pole, vert, vert, vert, pole. 2 strides between each fence and all jumps baby-sized (the biggest one was in the middle and it was a grand total of 2"6). So the warmup is to jump diagonally across the middle one (think riding a figure 8). Now Si is very good at holding her line and we jump on random angles all the time (since I like that game :), so this is a non-issue. Except that she was thoroughly spinny, so we spent some time convincing her to chill out. Also randomly angled each of the other fences, and while I was doing that, the middle fence turned into a hogsback.

So anyways take her straight through it and she was good. It was a little hesitant, but got over everything. Next time was good, with the right number of strides :) And I wasn't riding like an idiot which was a bit of a relief.

Anyways that middle fence just kept growing. I basically never jump her above 2'9", and it got to 3'3". Not huge, no big deal at all. Except that I hate width. Oxer remember? Yeah -- 5' wide. Literally. (Yes I might've measured it after :). N let me tell ya, that makes the little 3'3" suddenly seem a whole lot bigger. Sienna? No problem. Did it several times, both directions, no concerns, no hesitation, not even remotely near touching the fence (who's surprised by this?), knees up around her ears, landing perfectly balanced. The world was good.

The lightbulb? Well now I've always been told I think too much when I jump. N I had one coach who solved this by giving me an instruction for every stride -- and that worked, so I've been applying that for years now. And given recent lack of riding ability I *was* very focused on the jumping. Get the right speed-balance-impulsion to make the turn and still have power at the fence, hold the line, keep my position, etc etc etc. All this went out the window when my coach says to me in the "not to be ignored" voice when I'm all of two strides out: "Have fun!" And it just so surprised me -- both the words being incongruous w/ the tone and exactly what he'd said that I laughed. And my mind was spinning back through the "lesson learned" earlier this week, and all thoughts of what I should be doing disappeared. And you know what? It turns out I *know* how to ride. When I don't try to make it happen, everything flows exactly as it should. Position was solid (would HAVE to be for superpony to clear that and land in balance), everything worked properly, and guess what! It was fun. And coach of course very quickly picked up on the effect that had, so of course each time the jump grew that was the last instruction. And what a difference it made. The only down side is that "fun" to me tends to equal "fast" which is not what we were going for. hahaha but a slight refinement and we were all good.

Anyways I was just entertained by the close proximity of semi-unrelated items in my life. The pilates and the dressage both picking the same focus in the same week (and, conveniently, in the right order!) and the two "remember why you do this" rides -- one goofing around and one actually working, but both to the same effect, again only a couple days apart.


Post a Comment