Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back in training

Not Panama — me.

It's been a long time since I've had my trainer out. Now that Panama is reasonably trained, we were starting to work on me a bit more. For example, we were starting to work on getting me to canter. Which I still don't do.

But then we took a long break. She had a baby, and I had a not-very-horsey winter and spring. I blanketed Panama and visited with him, but I didn't do the latter very often — and the riding not at all.

So earlier this summer I started up riding again, with the goal of getting back into riding regularly. You might remember how sore I was at first! But I wanted to be sure I had built up some strength in my legs before my trainer came out again, not to mention I wanted to do some other things like start trail riding again.

Because I wanted to work on me, and therefore wanted Panama not to be too distracted, we rode in the pasture today. To start my trainer had me do a couple of laps, to see where we were at. She immediately noticed that my stirrup leathers have stretched and needed to be taken up a notch, which was interfering with my posting. Luckily there was one more hole in them, and we were able to do so right there.

She also observed that I was relying on my stirrups too much when posting, and had me do some exercises to get me to use my legs more. She started off having me sit two beats, and stay up two beats. That was HARD. Then she had me sit three, and post one.

I still wasn't quite getting it, so she had me drop the stirrups and just walk, but with my legs in the correct position so that I could feel the muscles I was supposed to be using. It seemed to work, because after that I started controlling my posting more. At the end of the session, she said I was doing much better, and that if I can practice that as "homework," we should be able to canter next time.



My trainer also said two things that made me feel really good. She had brought her baby with her, and when Panama was checking him out I commented on how gentle he was being. My trainer agreed, and said he was a favorite of hers among the horses she'd started, because he is so laid back and easy going. Oh! I am so proud!

The other thing she said was that we looked really good for having taken the winter off. That meant a lot to me because I feel like I've made some real strides since I've been riding again. I feel like my awareness of both his body and mine has increased exponentially, which has allowed me to do some fine tuning when I work with him. What my trainer said indicated that it's not just my imagination, Panama and I are working well together.

Now I've just got to be sure that over the next few days, I make time to practice the exercises my trainer had me doing today. I am excited about the prospect of cantering, but I'm nervous too, so I want to prepare as much as possible!



At July 22, 2009 at 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your progress!

At July 22, 2009 at 10:22 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

She sounds like a good trainer. Mixing up how many beats you sit in the saddle vs. how many you post is an interesting exercise I haven't tried other than when I switch diagonals. It's hard not to post out of the stirrups at first. It takes a while to build up the thigh muscles needed to post without stirrups. My trainer once threatened to remove the bridle and reins, and strap me down to the saddle while he lunged my horse at the canter until I learned to sit on my back pockets and balance myself. That was the day I decided I'd fire him before I'd let him do that to me. That's an exercise riding instructors often do with kids, but I don't know how appropriate it is for adults. Fortunately, he was just in one of his snits and he never did it.

At July 22, 2009 at 11:21 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...


Thank you! :o)


Much of what I've learned about working with horses is thanks to my trainer. She has been a huge and very positive influence on my horse(wo)manship!


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