A new month and another Tuesday. What have I learned so far this semester?
Well, we started off with a not-so-soft start (then again, the break was pretty short). We worked with lateral movement, using that to have the horses naturally fall into a slower pace with more “wait” built into each stride. A good exercise for Nelson who isn’t one for waiting, though I struggled a bit with not interfering as soon as he slowed down a bit. As with the canter, I need to learn to leave more up to the horse. Ulrika also spotted some issues with my knees getting a bit “stuck” and my lower legs tensing in place as a result of that. So that’s one thing to focus on during this semester; a nice long and relaxed leg.
The second lesson was jumping, and I was halfways off Nelson on a couple of occasions. Ulrika wanted us to jump the horses in a way that would gymasticise them; get in close and get high, round jumps. Another exercise in waiting, both for me and Nelson. Learning to trust the horses to move without me badgering them is still a work in progress. Do less, but be more effective, that’s what I have to keep in mind.
The third lesson was theory and I missed out on it due to a deadline for an exam. Normally, I plan a bit better than that, but January was sort of eaten by my application to the doctoral program (which I won’t know anything about for months).
Finally, last week it was all about serpentines and another new discovery with Nelson. Even when he is more off the forehand (as he was after the serpentines), he still feels heavy. So, I need to try and trust that he will carry himself and not just keep holding him up. I also need to work on my canter seat again; my inner foot wasn’t down enough but at the same time my outer hip wasn’t back enough.
Unfortunately, I think this is now due to my back issues to some degree. Something about riding is hurting my back each week and has been doing for…well, at least 6 months and maybe more than that. I have no idea why it started, or what to do about it, but its becoming a real issue. The sit-ups that strengthened my stomach and helped with my back before aren’t doing anything for this lower back pain/weakness. We’ll see how it goes today.