Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Riding Session #3

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling really down - probably due to the persistent snow (not to mention all of the Little Debbies I've been eating). I went to the gym in preparation for my riding session, and it really perked me up. I came home and changed into my cold-weather riding attire, had some tea, and then was raring to go! It was a good lesson in how transient moods can be.

Here are excerpts from my session. It is pretty much in chronological order. We improved as we practiced. One thing that really stands out is that I'm holding on to Doc's head too much! Since I was in an arena with other riders with differing agendas, I was concerned that I wouldn't have enough control without using two reins. I'll strive to resolve this next time.

Any constructive criticism would be *greatly* appreciated!

(I believe that maybe my toes stick out due to tight hip flexors?)


Eden said...

Hey Clare!
Great to see you get to get out of this insane weather and do some riding! Let me start by saying I love the idea of taking "lessons" so to speak to get that experience with all types of horses. I hope to start being able to do this soon, too, when the waaarm weather comes, that is.
Ok, you said you'd welcome constructive criticism, so here I go.
First off, congrats on being able to ride those transitions so well! I was very impressed... and bareback?! Wow. But I did notice that in general, you tend to sit back quite a bit. Well, not exactly SIT back, but LEAN back.
Now, trust me, I've been there and done that, so I've speaking from experience.

Last year, when I went to Harry Whitney for the week, himself and all the other participants combined came together to break my mom's, mine, and another guy Jeff's baaaad habit of leaning back. You tend to get behind the movement back there. They helped me understand that classical riding, and the true, pure way to ride, is by sitting up straight, and acting like if your horse was pulled out from under you, you would be left standing. Now, this does NOT mean start arching your bad into "bad banana shape" and bracing, this just means becoming talllerrrr and more elegant in your riding. You should have an energy about you as you go, but it shouldn't be obvious. I had the typical freestyle seat when I went to camp. Sitting on my bum, on my balance point, etc. But I was exaggerating to the extreme. Now I ride taller, I've lowered my stirrups SO much (three holes at least), and I feel much more in harmony. I know that you are bareback so its a completely different story (I still ride a bit defensive bareback) but you can start playing around with the idea of stretching doowwn and standing up. Looks good though!

Lisa said...

Clare ~ That looks fantastic! You seem very relaxed and balanced. I'm jealous of the ease at which you canter bareback. Your lesson horse seems so laid-back and he knows his job. What an amazing opportunity to have a horse teach you.

One major observation . . . In a lot of the video you seem to be just a hair behind the horse's motion. You are leaned back in the trot, canter and the halt/back-up.

Now just to temper this - I have some major critiques of the Parelli Balance Point. I think too many people are riding too far back and it's causing their horses to have to pull them forward. Watch your little gelding, he seems to be going slightly down hill a lot - that's pulling on the forehand rather than driving with the HQ.

I've learned more classical seat riding through Pilates and I love the increased harmony I feel with my horse. She is more free in her movement and I feel more secure sitting more upright. My core is stronger, my upper body is becoming independent from my lower body. All this results in a more upright posture but not one that is perched.

I don't believe there is a difference in rider posture from freestyle to finesse. I don't think freestyle riding should look slovenly. It should be turned loose and free - not sloppy.

In your canter, reach forward when the horse's mane comes up. Carol Coppinger has been teaching this and it's fabulous. Watch jockey's ride and you'll see what I mean. It will keep you more with the horse than behind him. If he speeds up when you reach, soften your reach.

Truly you are doing fabulous. Some days I wish I had a horse to teach me but that's not part of my journey. I just muddle through, doing the best I can.

~ Lisa

Naturally Gaited said...

Thank you ladies! I'll definitely see what I can do to stretch upward more. I know that I also tend to rotate my shoulders forward (slouch). I love the idea of reaching forward. I've seen Pat teaching students to do this, but needed to be reminded.

I'm going to try to video my next session too, to see any progress. I'm also praying that my driveway will melt so that I can haul Guinness over to watch. :-)


inchwormwv said...

Wow Clare, way to go! I am very impressed that you are getting videotaped - such an excellent learning aid. Good for you to be brave and put it out there. Tenley

Tina said...

Think about Linda's "pull your armpits down" idea and it'll help. The holding the reins too much is a hard one, especially if you're in a group with non-Parelli students. Remember to trust and be ready to connect, not more on than the other. That helps me to remember to give Dixie some slack.

What a great opportunity for you. Way to go!