Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Let her believe in the horses!"

"Let her believe in the horses, for though they too may let her down once in awhile, it's never for a lack of trying" - The Betrayal of Bonnie by Barbara Van Tuyl

The last couple of days have been crappy. After an exhausting 2 days making my sister's wedding cake, I went back to work to discover things went 'off' in the two days I was away, so I got to spend the morning putting everything right.

That was an emotional day, and was followed up by a lot of pointless running around. So today, more pointless running around, more work drama, and then when I headed to the barn to escape, a reality check. Probably a good reality check, as I realised that I NEED to start thinking about this winter with Moon...

I was bummed and preoccupied and exhausted driving to W's for my lesson. Even after my short visit with Moon'er, which only had me worrying about the future.

I ended up at the barn early, and figured I'd just wait it out inside. W's barn is really nice and spacious, screened in and cozy. And the lights were off, making it kinda secluded. I made myself comfortable on the stairs and flipped through a horse book while listening to the horses munch on their dinner.

It was so relaxing. When W walked in the door, I was in a totally different zone.

We tacked up her little 14.2 Arab (who was 26!) and I settled into the ring. For one, he's WAY narrower then Moon, he's pretty close in height, but for some reason, his compact size made him seem taller to me. He also had a much shorter neck and back, very nicely packaged together.

It was a very different ride, but awesome none the less. W reminded me that Moon didn't have the tight little frame, but instead had a beautiful leggy trot. So the movement would be more condensed on her boy.

We worked on my bending, serpentines and leg yields, and I LOVED how effortless they became when I figured out how to position my body and move with it. Because of his smaller strides, I could REALLY tell when I was on the wrong diagnol, which makes me amazed that it's not more obvious on Moon.

She then asked me to 2-pt and really think about relaxing my legs. My #1 issue? When I get worried about screwing up, I clamp down with my legs. Terrible, terrible thing, but I do. I also tend to tip forward in these moments. My 'safe spot'.

W said that if I could just start to relax, my very solid core and upper body would FINALLY be complimented by lower half. Okay, time to focus...

I moved off in a sitting trot, and it was rough at first. This is how it ALWAYS is. W's reminders to open my chest, roll my shoulders back, MOVE my lower body...

...and suddenly I found "it". The sweet spot! Lightbulb moment.

I've been sitting the trot on my pelvic bone. I tend to wind up slightly forward and with my hips rolled so that I'm grinding my pelvic bone into the saddle (non-horsey people please don't take that the wrong way! Or horsey people for that matter!). But really, that's what I was doing. Suddenly, I realised that if I leaned back a touch (going from tipping slightly forward to inline), and thought about riding more to my butt cheeks then my pelvis, I could do it.

...and then we had beauty.

There was a moment, I was riding down the 1/4 line (found it this time!), and sitting the trot while leg yielding. It was PERFECT, or the closest I've been in my life. Effortless, smooth and I was in perfect harmony with the horse. We just moved.

When I came back to a walk (without losing any of our rythym), W looked at me and said "I KNOW you felt that, because I saw you suddenly grinning from ear to ear!".

Awesomeness. As I told her, I felt like we were beautiful in those moments. Truly beautiful.

We finished the lesson off with a canter. I had warned her I've been told a lot that I'm much too stiff with my hips and bounce around a lot. Again, I'm pretty sure she's just building me up to myself, but she had no complaints about my position or movement in the canter, though there are always things that can be tweaked.

The other important thing she said? "I don't think your saddle does your position justice". : ) Yip. So it's not just me. She said in her Passier (man it's lovely), my position is great and all of the faults she was noticing in my own saddle seemed much less noticable if they were even there at all.

Oh sigh. Cause we all know I don't NEED an excuse to buy a saddle : P

The most special moment of all? When we were moving beautifully around the ring and she looked at me and said: "I think you should do dressage. You should buy a dressage saddle because your position is perfectly dressage."

: ) You know, work, life, family, stress. At the end of the day, our horses free us from it all, if only for a fleeting, beautiful moment in a perfect trot.

1 comment:

  1. They are definitely magical creatures. I always said that riding got me through the stress of college and helped me get awesome grades!

    ha ha! The saddle thing is a constant problem...I would LOVE to find the perfect saddle. You should get a dressage saddle...haven't you been wanting the Isabella?

    Glad your lessons are going great with W!