Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lesson Day Revelations

It's amazing how dramatically things can change in just a day.  I posted previously about the tough time that I had been having with April wanting to do a skippy-canter, and not stay at the trot.  Well, over the next ride or two, it continued to increase by fairly dramatic proportions.  By Saturday, I was frustrated to a near breaking point.  We had a horrible ride and were barely able to work through it to a decent stopping point.  I managed to untack and cool out my pony before plopping down on my tack trunk and promptly bawling my eyes out in a most dramatic fashion.  Poor Robyn...she had a tough ride too, and then she had the responsibility of trying to talk me through the emotional basketcase that I was being....

As it turns out, the next day was my lesson with Ivy.  She strolled up to the arena and inquired how things were going, and I filled her in on the troubles we had been having.  She proceeded to hop on April to see if she felt anything.  By the second circle around the ring in near-perfect form, Ivy rode by me with her singsong voice drifting back behind her...."You're a liar......"

If I hadn't laughed, I might have cried.  She hopped off, and I jumped on to start my lesson.  My heart leapt into my throat for the first ten minutes, expecting April to start skipping around like a fool at any moment.

It never happened.  Ivy started correcting minute details about my position from the instant I got on, and it made all the difference in the world.  We worked on the flat for the majority of the lesson and it went beautifully.  The biggest issues I need to work on are: A) my leg - rooting down into my heel, and bringing my knee away from pinching the saddle; B) my seat - rotating forward onto my crotch (sorry, but there isn't really a glamorous way to say that!) and off of my butt, and relaxing through my hip, and; C) my arms - more importantly, relaxing through my elbows and bringing my hands up and out of my lap.  These three things made all the difference in the world throughout my hour-long ride.  By the end of the lesson, we were schooling over a little cross-rail and working on feeling out distances by using a takeoff pole set out from the base of the fence.

Schooling at home, mid-November

My mind was spinning by the time I left, but I felt so relieved to know that such small changes would make such a huge difference in the way she goes.  I stayed to watch Ivy teach a couple more lessons, then headed back to the farm to unload.  After all the ponies were settled in for the evening, I headed over to Kelsey's to enjoy a beer and good conversation about my lesson.  It is so nice to be able to share things from my other lessons with her, and have her help me to expound on them even more.  So many trainers are threatened by a student working with another trainer, but Ivy and Kelsey have both made it so comfortable and non-threatening for me, and I feel unbelievably lucky to have the freedom to utilize multiple resources that each add another piece of the puzzle.

I am attaching the video from Kelsey's ride on April the day after Thanksgiving, as well as an AMAZING picture my little sister finally sent over to me.  Her photography continues to astound me - my girl is so photogenic!!!

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