Still stinging from my painfully embarrassing lesson on Sunday, I headed over to the barn, wondering what horse M would have me ride. When I arrived, D was getting Blondie ready for a workout, so I was able to watch her work. I felt a little better after, as he picked up the wrong canter lead two times in a row. Even he seemed surprised.
At the end of the work out, he looped the reins over his head, and had her slow gait around the arena. He has done this before while cantering her, to show me that reins are unnecessary. Until I've been riding for 30 years, I'll keep using them.
I rode Wildchild for the lesson. Trotting her is no problem, and I even like how responsive she is. Her canter, though, is another matter. When I asked for the first canter, I had her tipped correctly, but then M said I let her straighten back out, so she trotted into the canter.
Wildchild is fast. They were going to try to use her for a roadster, but because she was kicked by another horse and broke her leg a few years ago, she gets hitchy when she trots fast. She canters fast, too, and M thinks it will help me get over my hang up about cantering.
At first, we careened out of control around the arena, with me bouncing on that poor horse's back with every stride. After a few times around, I was able to get her to slow down a little, with M's help. I have a tenancy to just lock up on the reins, which just makes the horse go faster. When I started jiggling the bridle to the left, Wildchild started slowing down.
I feel that the no stirrup lessons are helping make my legs stronger. I felt a lot more secure in the saddle, with my legs clamped firmly on the horse. Or maybe she's just skinnier than Harley 🙂
The last exercise we worked on was to help rate our speed. We played follow the leader, trying to keep the same distance from the horse in front while trotting serpentines and circles. Then we each trotted a small circle, in unison, along the rail. It was our first drill team exercise, and I wanted to know when we could carry flags.