Saturday, July 13, 2013

Oh bareback, how I love thee so

I got about 10 good minutes of bareback riding at my lesson yesterday evening. Duke and I walked, trotted, and cantered a bit, although the cantering part was tough. He doesn't like moving, in general, but he's better bareback than with a saddle (perhaps it's because I can kick better without stirrups).

I was having a pretty good lesson, so by the time we started cantering bareback, my dare devil side became all too tempting. I slowly loosed my reins to the buckle, and then I just dropped them and stuck my arms out. Did that for about five strides before the little booger broke on me. I genuinely surprised myself though. I'm usually so nervous to do things, but this time I just carefully dropped the reins and made sure he didn't get a foot stuck in them. I was worried about falling at all. Eh, I guess things just change over time.

Bareback aside, the rest of my lesson was still fantastic. I'm starting to get on Duke's case more about bending his corners and circles. The chiropractor came out and cracked him, so he's fine physically. When we started working together back in January and February, I had him bending like a pro Dressage horse at the walk and trot. Well, now he's good at the walk, wants to kill me at the trot, and ignores me at the canter. Really, Duke? Really? It's not even his whole body that I have trouble with, it's just his head and neck. From his withers back, he makes a beautiful arc, but his neck just stays straight. If you put any pressure to bend his neck, he falls to the inside. Of course, because of all this rain, we were in the indoor arena. Our indoor is small, so I need to make the best of my space and go deep into my corners, but, since Duke constantly falls in and cuts his corners, it was quite the struggle.

Despite having to have constant outside rein and inside leg pressure, my lesson was still great. We did walk, trot, and canter, then we did trot overs, trot in/canter out, and then cantered lines. My jumping position seems to have revived itself, but I'm still struggling with keeping my heels down over the jumps at the canter. I keep weight in my stirrups, but it's distributed 50/50 between my toe and heel. It's odd, but I'm working on it. My hands still need work too. I'm picking them up too early. I guess I have some things to work on during my lessons next week.

Both of my courses were great, considering the fact that I hate the indoor and it's small. Of course, my trainer has to pretend she hates me and makes half of the jumps oxers. I have this deep rooted hatred for oxers. They're so wide and awkward. Why can't they just be normal like other jumps?! The verticals were the only thing that made the course bearable. The tight turns were somewhat doable. Duke broke on the same turn during both courses (and gave me an attitude the second time, to which I replied with the crop). Otherwise, they are great. I got most of the distances, and Duke was going at a great pace. All in all, great.

I have two lessons next week with my trainer, and then a two day show on the weekend. I have a doctor's appointment on Monday, so no lesson with Miss E. I already miss Buddy! Hopefully by the week after next, I'll be on a solid weekly schedule. If not, I'll wing it.

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