Sunday, May 3, 2015

My first riding lesson in a while

Panama and I had a riding lesson on Friday with a new instructor -- someone who has taught at the barn for some years, but whom I haven't used before.  I thought I'd try a few lessons with her though to see what I think.

Of course, Panama and I haven't had lessons in a year, and we're out of shape to boot.  So going into the lesson, I wasn't sure what we were going to want to work on, but I knew I wanted to get us into shape.  I figured goals would materialize as we went, as I was right.

Pan hadn't been ridden in a week and a half, so he was a bit pumped at first.  When he's not focused he generally forgets how to carry himself, and balance (not leaning through turns, etc.) is something we've been working on since I started making an effort to get us both back into shape, so we ended up working on that during our lesson.

The trainer, T., set up a circle with cones and had us go round and round the circle, looking for relaxation, balance, bend, and easy carriage.  Once we got it we were able to progress to the next gait, switch directions, etc.  Panama of course, being the sassy but smart pony he is, picked up on the exercise as he calmed down and started focusing, and then everything came much more easily.

It was a very successful lesson and I was quite pleased.  I love my old trainer -- she was tough on me when I needed that, when I was a beginner with a green horse who had to figure things out quickly so that I wouldn't get hurt -- but sometimes it's nice to hear someone telling you what you're doing right, and T. does that.  She actually said some things I don't think I've ever heard before except maybe once or twice from fellow boarders I'm friends with: that I'm a pretty rider, that I have quiet hands, that I do certain things right (such as using my reins and leg pressure to push Panama into something he is shying away from).  She also put my stirrups down one notch, as they were at a height my old trainer and I disagreed on -- she wanted them higher than I did, in an effort to push my toes up, something I wasn't comfortable with and maintained would never work, but had gotten accustomed to riding with anyway.  And I found not only did I like the lower stirrup length, but I actually was able to get my heels down a little more that way.

Anyway, it was a good lesson, and I'm looking forward to the next one!



At May 3, 2015 at 10:33 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm glad you two could agree on a stirrup length and that you got some compliments. I've been afraid to hire anymore equitation instructors, because they all eventually stress me out and take the joy out of riding for me. I'm also getting skeptical about letting horse trainers ride my horses, because sometimes they teach them behaviors that don't work for my purposes, like running on the trail and learning to fear their rider. I hope this lady continues to work out well for you.

At May 3, 2015 at 11:15 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

I think she will, NM! I've seen her teach for long enough that I don't think there will be any surprises. But if there are, well, I can either go back to my old trainer or stop taking lessons again. Mostly I am happy with Panama, and I'm just interested in getting us back into shape and doing a tune-up to make sure I'm still moving in the direction I want to be. I figure whether I like working with her or not, it'll let me know what direction I do or don't want to be going. :)


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