Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lesson with Katy: 3

Let me start by saying that correcting bad habits/learning to ride in balance is painful. I rode Winston again last Friday and worked some more on keeping my hands up -- which caused me to use my shoulder muscles more/differently. Friday night I woke from a dream where I was in pain to discover that, yes, I was in pain. My shoulders were REALLY sore. Aleve is my new best friend.

The work paid off, though. Katy was pleased with my progress and I loved how we surprised her with how well we were doing. ...which is not to say that she didn't have more to teach us. I wish I had pictures to show you what we were doing but my camera man was unavailable so we'll have to make it work with words.

I confessed that my canter transitions have always been a problem because I either throw away all contact -- causing Winston to wonder what happened -- or I fail to follow with my hands, shutting him down. I shared with her the wonderful transitions I got this week by working Winston on a long rein at trot and then asking from my seat without changing my hands at all. She laughed and said that is how she teaches the canter transition. It should come from a swinging seat and not a poking outside leg.

On a 20m circle at walk, I used my seat to get Winston round and in almost shoulder-fore. To do this, I sat deep and followed with my high hands. My shoulders were turned towards the inside of the circle and so was my outside toe. Okay, it wasn't turned that far but is felt like it was. By turning my outside toe in, my thigh turned also, laying flat against the saddle so I could keep the outside rein full without falling out. I put a little weight in my outside foot to counteract my tendency to lean in as I turned my shoulders. Then I asked for trot while keeping all of that going. We did this a few times, and when the transitions were smooth with no rushing but a reaching hind leg and a soft frame - I let Winston take a lap around the arena in a nice stretchy, relaxed frame.

When we get the transitions consistently soft from my seat, we'll work on the same thing for canter.


  1. Those hands are so important. Sounds like you had a great lesson.

  2. I have come to appreciate how much of an exact science this is. Your writing is almost as good as with photos.


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