Hippoi Athanatoi

A New Semester

Today was the first lesson of the autumn semester, and as always we started the sign-up with the dreaded weigh-in. Fortunately, my trip to WorldCon two weeks ago and all the walking Elio and I did there, and my relatively restrained diet since then, had done the trick. I was low enough to be allowed to ride Murphy, even though I think he had been dropped down a weight group. In fact, I believe the instructor said I was the only one there who was allowed to ride him, which would be very good news indeed. I have nothing at all against being ‘stuck’ on him for the next few months. ;)

Just as when I had Murphy for my private lesson a week and a half ago (sorry, didn’t have this journal up by then, so couldn’t post about it), his mood was much better than last semester. Apparently, this has much to do with the fact that he’s now the alpha in the herd, which has done much to improve his mood towards both people and other horses. Oh, he did allow himself a token baring of the teeth or two while I was currying him, but that was all, and saddling him up was a breeze. Even tightening the girth down in the arena worked fine, although then he decided to be cheeky and step back once or twice as I got onto the mounting block. Very obviously just to tease me.

The lesson itself consisted of a lot of analyzing your horse’s movements, in particular the cadence, and figuring it how to affect it only intentionally and not by mistake, for example by shifting your own weight inappropriately. Murphy has a bit of a habit of walking too briskly, rather than lengthening his stride, once you start asking him to work, and he is also good at ‘falling’ into trot instead of starting properly with his hind legs. However, since I am well aware of what he does to try to escape work (we had worked a lot on the cadence issue during my private lesson on him), I managed to get him to respond reasonably well from fairly early on. I never really got a very good transition from walk totror , although they were decent by the end, but I did manage some very nice ones from trot to walk. But Murphy does find collection quite easy, and exercising that involve a lot of transitions always yield very good results on him.

My biggest problem was, as it so often is, my seat. It seems that concentrating on lowering my heels (also something we did a lot of during all three private lessons) has resulted in me tipping a bit forward again. At least, I think that was it. Normally, I only tip forward when I am tense and can’t quite trust my horse, but since I am perfectly confident when I ride Murphy, it must have been the otheradjustments I have been trying to make of late that caused the problem. I definitely do not have the perfect body for riding, although when I work on it I can manage a decent seat on a compact horse like Murphy. So ... I just need to keep thinking about my head, my shoulders, my back, my hips, my knees and my feet. Oh, and my hands. All at once.

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