Thursday, August 2, 2018

Practice Time

I think I've figured out why riders become addicted to doing lessons: it's because for an hour we don't have to think about what we need to work on - that is our trainer's responsibility. There is a lot of relief in being able to let go of the stress of trying to decide what to work on. I think that may be why it is easier sometimes to put up a couple of obstacles, not because we need to focus on the obstacle so much, as it gives me a focal point in the ride.

Random Arabian Costume Photo

Last night we continued our quest for a straight departure at the canter. Amanda had me work on shoulder in, then some haunches in to get the bend (we are beginning to suck at this to the right so the chiro has been scheduled). Then she had me put him in haunches out, straighten back to neutral and ask for the canter. That helped a lot. He is beginning to figure it out.

Things we struggled with: shoulder in at the canter, specifically to the right. We will make sure we do this going forward in our practice rides. We worked a lot on keeping him in his box, since he was wanting to throw his head up, hollow out and spook at random shadows (he got smacked on the neck for the shenanigans, but it didn't seem to phase him). He got frustrated at the expectation he trot his shoulder in and threw a little temper tantrum, but it was short lived and kind of funny. We did square corners at the canter and transitions while maintaining a non-giraffe pose doing so. The lesson ended with walk-trot work one-handed.

 Amanda on Ashke (not last night)

We were struggling to get the shoulder in at the canter going to the right and I offered to let her try, but she wasn't dressed for it. I sucked it up, fixed my position and we managed one more round of shoulder in. Sometimes you just have to force your way through the pain and discomfort.

My left hand is completely stupid. Learning to ride with the left hand is going to be a process. Seems like I have a tendency to twist my body and lean forward (gosh, so surprised). I really need to be cognizant of the length of rein I need to be able to sit up correctly and keep my shoulders square. Amanda cautioned me on my practice rides, to really focus on correct posture and to keep the work at the walk and trot so that I can develop the muscle memory to do it correctly. I do think it is a great exercise to add to my practice rides, if for no other reason than it will help both Ashke and myself in our EOH trials. 

It doesn't sound like much, does it? I was shaking and exhausted when we were done. My legs are still a bit rubbery this morning. I looked like I had been hosed down. It was a good lesson.

We go on vacation in a week and I plan on just giving him the time off as rest. Maybe have Amanda ride one time the week we are gone, if she has time and thinks he needs it. Mostly, I want him to have a break to process everything we've been working on, so that he is ready and refreshed mentally when I get back. It's awesome to ride five days a week, but sometimes you just need to get away.

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