Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another horseback riding lesson

Today I had my first lesson on my horse in almost two weeks. I've been practicing my posting a lot since then, but I have been having some trouble keeping Panama on the rail when we trot around the arena clockwise. I meant to get a little help from Leslie and then let her work Panama herself a bit, but we ended up spending the entire session on me.

With a lot of instruction from Leslie, by the end of the session I was able to finally keep Panama on the rail — in all four corners and going both directions. I didn't succeed in getting him to maintain a constant speed at the trot, but I also know that part of that was due to distraction and frustration — the rest of the herd was grazing in the green pasture right next to the arena.

Now that I've got my posting rhythm more or less down, my trainer is adding in all sorts of other things required for steering and control. As a result, I have a lot to try to remember now while I'm posting:

1) Keep my hands together and my reins shorter
2) Don't overuse my left rein (which I tend to do when riding counter clockwise)
3) Keep my right rein taut when asking for a left turn (so that Panama doesn't just turn his head and continue on in the same direction as before)
4) Stiffen up my hips to slow my post (and therefore check Panama's acceleration) when trotting downhill
5) Use both reins equally when asking him to stop or back up
6) Be ready myself when I ask Panama to trot (so that he doesn't lurch into it and catch me off-guard)

It's a lot to remember — I will definitely need to get some more practice in!

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