Hippoi Athanatoi

Half-Passable

Since my cold assaulted me with a vengeance after we returned from Levade on Saturday, I have not yet managed to get all the pictures we took readied for the gallery as I had hoped. Perhaps later in the week. I did, however, feel well enough today to go to my riding lesson. Then again, I’ve dragged myself there while on medication too, so it would actually take a lot more than a nasty cold to stop me from going riding.

Just like last week, I was put on Malupin. Good enough, especially since we were building on the exercises from last week, and then it is always easier to work with the same horse. Of course, Malupin must have read my entry from last week, where I claimed I now knew how to stop him from pacing instead of trotting as he decided to be much more difficult about that today. After a while, however, he gave up and started trotting quite well, and I worked a lot on remembering a heavy seat but an upright back. I think I am starting to find something closer to the seat I used to have—which was very heavy, but where I sat leaning a little too far back, leaving me too much behind the horse’s movements—and managing to combine that with a more upright position. Partly I think I was able to do this well today as I had taken a painkiller for my back yesterday and it was still feeling great, so I had no nagging feeling at the back of my head telling me it would hurt if I used my back more.

However, as always is the case with riding, while you concentrate on one problem another one might surface—or resurface. In my case concentrating on a heavy seat meant that I once again forgot to keep my heel down. What seems to happen is that when I concentrate on keeping my centre of gravity in the saddle, there’s no weight left to use to stretch my legs downwards. I used to have a really heavy (if, as I said, slightly backwards tilted) seat, but also legs that flopped about like I was half paralyzed from the waist down. So ... I’ll have to try to add my legs and feet back into the equation, not by putting weight in the stirrups but by letting my legs flow down from my hips. Definitely need to get back into doing a regular exercise routine, to try to strengthen my legs and stomach so that I have the muscle tone required to keep a good position for a whole class.

Other than my seat issues, the exercise went quite well at a walk and so-so at a trot. Today, it consisted of turning in on the centre-line and from there doing a half-pass along a diagonal line back out onto the track. At a walk, Malupin moves at a good, steady pace in the half-pass, neither too much forward nor too much sideways. At a trot, however, he either moves too much forward or ‘falls’ sideways, and it is very difficult to get a good flow to his movements. I managed a couple of decent lines, though, and it did result in a very good regular trot. So, overall I am pretty pleased, although it wouldn’t have hurt to have another week to practice this. Next week (and the week after it) is jumping, however, and since Malupin doesn’t jump following an old injury, I am hoping I’ll be back on Murphy.

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