Friday, May 21, 2010

Flat class practice

When my trainer grabbed my camera to video today's lesson, she said, "You can call this post, 'Flat class practice'!" I found it hilarious that she automatically knew I'd post the video to my blog, but hey, she was right about the title!

We are practicing for the schooling show in June, since I really didn't know any of what to expect. I haven't ever even been to a show, let alone been in one. (Oh, and apparently I'm going to be one of two adults at this show. Oh well — better late than never, right?) Providing I get more confident at the canter and Panama behaves himself at the show, we'll be doing a walk, trot, and barely cantering class.

So my trainer is having me practice cantering when she says, rather than when I feel ready. Sometimes that goes well, other times it doesn't. She's also having me work on my endurance — we take a lot of breaks during my lessons (ahem), so trotting and cantering for a whole seven minutes! seems a bit intimidating for me right now!

Anyway, we practiced each direction twice during our lesson, and my trainer videoed the second practice run. I didn't have much room on memory card, so she just recorded the trot and canter parts, with one video for each direction.

The first practice run — the one that didn't get videoed — was okay, but going the second direction I kissed at Panama for the canter, which I never do because he is so goosey. Of course, he exploded into the canter, so I guess I learned my lesson!

The first direction of the second practice run, I got a similar explosion, this time because I rushed it and didn't half-halt him before asking for the canter. I lost my left stirrup and nearly lost my balance, but I stayed in the saddle and kept cantering! I guess it's good to know that I can canter safely with only one stirrup.

It's hard to see in the video, but I lost my stirrup when Panama exploded forward, so that entire time I was cantering without a stirrup!

The other direction was much better, as my trainer helped me prepare for the canter a little more. Panama still took off, but when I commented on that, my trainer said, "That was just a Panama-style transition." Huh. I think that may have been a nice way of saying my horse has a little too much energy...

As you can probably tell, I'm getting better at sitting the canter, but I'm still not moving with the horse's movement quite the way I should be. We have four weeks until the show, so hopefully some more practice will help with that — I just need to get the cajones to practice without my trainer there! I also need to get used to some other things — my trainer is "picking on my equitation," as she puts it, and also trying to get me not to cluck and talk to Panama as much as I do.

After our lesson today I went right out on the trail — our second trail ride this week — but I'll blog about that in a separate post. We rode for about 2 ½ hours today, and my legs are starting to feel it!



At May 22, 2010 at 5:21 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Yes, you are riding with better form now. Panama does really explode into the canter. It may just be the videos, but it looks as if you sit back right before he transitions. If I sit back after doing the posting trot, my horses slow to a walk. I wonder if you and your trainer are in the habit of always cantering after the trot, so Panama is anticipating any change in your balance as a cue to canter? Or maybe he's just feeling his oats. You certainly look confident regardless of his speed.

At May 22, 2010 at 10:34 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks, NM! I'm glad I look confident, because I'm not. ;o) My strategy is just to DO it without thinking about it too much!

Panama sometimes slows when I sit back, but usually he only does so if I use the reins as well. My trainer actually wants me to sit back and half-halt him before asking for the canter, in order to set him up for a nicer canter and prevent him from exploding too much. If you watch the first video and then the second, you can see that the explosion is much less in the second, when I do a better job of sitting back and half-halting him first.

He was definitely anticipating the canter by this time, though -- we'd already done this in each direction twice, so he knew what we were up to! He loves to canter and once we do it a couple times, starts anticipating that a canter command could come at any minute!


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