(This lesson was two weeks ago and I’m just now getting to posting about it. The work situation is bad, I’m telling you 😦 )
I think that Kim works in bigger chunks than Michele. Where Michele explains every step and every move I should make, Kim says “move his shoulders over” and expects me to do it. Where I appreciate and have learned a TON from Michele’s way, I think Kim’s way may mesh with me better at the moment. I’m too stressed, and already too detail-oriented. I need to focus on fewer details and more relaxation and feel.
When I drove up to the barn for my lesson a few weeks ago (augh!), I was excited and nervous to see a horse trailer in the driveway. Kim had brought two horses – one a Percheron/Arab named Cupcake who would be my mount for the evening! He topped out at third level, but he’s trained. He has all sorts of buttons and skills.
Honestly, I didn’t learn a lot of “facts” from Cupcake. Really, I got him round, then trotted him, did some shoulder-in, cantered (WHOA that lift off), and tried to memorize what all of this feels like.
…What it feels like to have a sensitive, well-trained mid-level horse. What I want Robbye to be someday.
And that’s what Kim wanted for me. She wanted me to understand what it means to be on the aids, what it means to be forward, and what it means to be powered from behind. I can (and do!) watch all the videos, read all the blogs, and devour all the books, but if I never feel it, I’ll certainly never be able to train it!
After riding Cupcake for an hour or so, I tacked up Robbye and put her through her new-found paces.
Kim seemed very very impressed with my progress with her. She was schooling her UL horse during our lesson, and at one point got distracted riding and talking to the barn owner. I took the opportunity to kick Robbye’s butt, and when Kim returned to us we were round and forward and the mare was submissive. I need to learn how to ride aggressively even when someone is watching me, or I’m never going to be able to show! A couple mechanical tidbits Kim pointed out to me, either while I was on Robbye or Cupcake (usually both):
- I tend to bend backwards (to the outside) while going to the right, and tend to over-bend to the left. This is probably because of my own anatomy and left-handedness, and it a habit I need to break.
- I’m back into the habit of breaking my wrists. Thumbs on top! I should feel like I’m holding a Little Tikes car steering wheel.
- To ask for the shoulder in, I pull the shoulders off of the wall, make sure I have the correct bend, then use my inside leg slightly forward to encourage the sideways + forward.
- To ask for the half pass, I execute a shoulder in and then move the haunches over with my outside leg. If I lose the movement, start over with the shoulder in!
- Pushing my weight onto my toes (without changing my seat!) creates an incredible downward transition. I felt it on Cupcake, and then it immediately made a difference on Robbye. This is like a reiner’s sliding stop, where they kick their legs forward, to a much much lesser degree.
I spent two weeks perfecting what I learned at this lesson, using the inspiration I got from Cupcake, then had another lesson with Kim this Tuesday. Hopefully I’ll get that recap written up in the next…month or so. I’m totally failing at this blog thing!