Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cantering... and falling

Despite the fact that I fell during yesterday's lesson, I am getting better at cantering. I'm getting a little bit better about feeling the rhythm. I am starting to be able to sit back in the saddle without feeling like I'm going to blast off, though I'm still hitting the saddle a bit harder than I should. I've also been practicing my sitting trot, and that's getting better too.

I made the most progress during Friday's lesson, when I finally started getting the hang of sitting back and moving with the rhythm of the canter. I still have a lot of practicing to do, but at least I'm not leaving Planet Earth with every stride. Panama is being so good and putting up with all of it without so much getting impatient!

My trainer gave me some homework for over the weekend — sitting the trot without stirrups — but I didn't have a chance to practice much so she put me through "boot camp" yesterday! That was her phrase, anyway. She made me do lots of sitting trot, with and without stirrups (and sometimes with only one stirrup). We also discover that I suck at adjusting my stirrups at anything faster than a walk, so she made me take my feet in and out while trotting. Boot camp, indeed.

Late in the lesson, she had me go back to cantering in the two-point. I quickly discovered — when I nearly blasted off again — that although I'm getting better at moving with the rhythm, I still can't do it worth a damn in the two-point. My problem is that I can't seem to figure out how to unlock my hips and move them separately from my back, so when my trainer says to sit tall and put my shoulders back, my hips freeze up too! Occasionally I get it, but it's only for a few strides at a time, so by the time she's finished telling me "Good job!" I've f---ed it up again.

Then Panama decided to do something that showed how unstable I am cantering in the two-point: He shied away from something at the rail. (Who knows what?) It was a classic example of him turning right, and me flying off left. I said, "Oh!" as I went airborne, too, which probably made it seem even more cartoon-like. I sort of landed on my feet, but the momentum sent me tumbling backward. Because of the way I was turned, I actually watched Panama run away from me as I fell.

It wasn't a hard fall by any means — I won't be sore at all tomorrow, I'm sure — but I got tons of arena sand down the back of my pants. But my trainer put my right back in the saddle, so what was I to do except ride with the sand in my pants? And ride I did. I even cantered again — and did much better that time, according to my trainer!



At May 12, 2010 at 4:19 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I think you have landed on your feet more times than anyone. I can't even visualize how you can fall off a horse and land on your feet. Most people either land on their heads or their butts.

At May 12, 2010 at 4:34 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

The time I landed on my feet and stayed on my feet, I just slipped off bareback, which I think is why I was able to. This time there was no way I ever could have stayed on my feet -- although I guess my body was trying, the momentum sent me right over on my butt anyways! Falling always happens so fast I can never remember what I did or how -- it was my trainer who noticed my feet landed before my butt.

I seem to have an instinct for trying to get my feet under me. I'm pretty sure that's how I tweaked my knee the last time I fell, when I was sitting on Panama in the corral and he got up and bolted -- I think I was trying to get my legs under me as I fell. I'm not so sure how impressive that really is, though. I'd rather my instinct kept me ON the horse, instead of scrambling to land on my feet as I go flying through the air!

At May 20, 2010 at 2:16 PM, Blogger lopinon4 said...

Trying to roll is better. I have landed on my feet so many times that I have sprained both ankles, and torn the muscle under my right foot completely in half. It's not worth it! :)

Great job on the cantering progress. Nothing beats practice, so just keep cantering!

At May 20, 2010 at 2:28 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Ha, I had someone tell me nearly the same thing. Trust me, I wasn't trying to land on my feet, and the momentum sent me into a backwards roll right away anyway. I imagine just like gymnastics or skiing, though, the trick to not getting hurt when you land on your feet is to remember to bend your knees and let them absorb the impact, rather than your ankles. ;o)


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