Hippoi Athanatoi

One Calm Little Horse

At the moment I am feeling pretty darn tired, and it wasn’t much better before the lesson (might have something to do with an early—for me, anyway—walk in the woods with the puppy), so no surprise that I didn’t do too great today.

Like last week, we had a different instructor from our regular one (she was off attending a clinic of some kind, and like last week the horses were very frisky. Not much snow left now, but plenty of ice, so they hadn’t been able to be outside much at all. Pojken, the charming little tank, was not allowed to be in any classes at all. Apparently he’s been bucking off a lot of people this last week, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be staying much longer. Which is kind of sad, because I do love the small horses that I can ride. Not that I like being bucked off, but as last week showed, I don’t scare that easily on a smaller horse.

Still, I wasn’t entirely unhappy to be on Murphy instead of Nelson this week. ;) Murphy, of course, was not very frisky. In fact, he could have used being a bit more energetic. When the others bounced around, scared by imaginary dangers, he just perked his ears up and looked at them. He seemed to be wondering why they were being so silly. But I suppose I should be mostly grateful, since I don’t enjoy being bucked off at all.

Like last week, we were going to be focusing on half-passes. Or, rather, this week they’d be primarily leg-yields. Our regular instructor tends to focus primarily on the lateral movement and she often decides on a per-horse basis whether we are supposed to bend away from the direction we’re travelling, in the direction we’re travelling or not at all. However, the instructor we had this week asked us all to keep our horses bent away from the direction we were travelling in, which means its a leg-yield and nothing else.

Warm-up was ... interesting, with all the spooking that went on. As noted, it didn’t bother Murphy, though it was still a little disruptive. I tried to be focused and effective from the get-go, and he didn’t feel off-balance like when he was missing one shoe, though he did still feel a bit stiffer than he was before Christmas. But the lack of any particularly steller results was probably more down to me than him. I was quite happy with his halts and his transitions back into a walk, but I wasn’t finding a good seat and my hands were probably a bit too low and fiddly.

To some extent, I think I was having a hard time with the new instructor. It felt as if she talked a lot more than our regular instructor, and sometimes I need a bit of quiet to think through a problem. Occasionally I do well when given a lot of instructions (like during private lessons), but I think some of the best work I have managed with Murphy has been when I get my share of commentary every round of whatever exercise we’re doing and when I can block out what is being said to anyone else. I guess being tired might have made me a little distracted today.

The actual leg-yields were okay. He’s pretty good at lateral movement, though what you have to watch with him is that he doesn’t lose the forward momentum. He was also pretty hard to bend today. But it got better, so we did make progress. I had hoped he’d improve a lot after we had cantered, as he sometimes does, but the cantering today was no good. He felt very stiff and I kept being unable to tell if he had the correct lead or not, it was that awkward. I also felt as if I got a bit too active in some transitions, but afterwards the instructor said she liked the transitions, so I guess they came out okay. She also thought the leg-yields had improved a fair bit, and that the final bit of trotting was pretty good. So, passable, I guess. But I didn’t quite find the right feeling anytime during the lesson. Then again, I shouldn’t expect it every time and be disappointed when it doesn’t happen. I know how elusive it can be.

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