No, I haven't yet lost my mind. But learning some of the things I've been learning this week is sure to blow my mind at some point or it will, like most things, just click.
Anyone who says riding is easy, you just get on a horse and the horse does the work has clearly never learnt to ride properly.
Alongside my cantering, my lesson on Tuesday consisted of moving the horse again. Instead of just the reins, legs are used more effectively from the rider to move the horse to the side. This entails what I can only describe as a coordinated minefield, at least that's how it felt during my lesson.
I touched on this in my last blog but now I'm getting a better idea of what I'm supposed to be doing, although if you asked the horse I was riding he would have asked "what is she doing," or more to the point, "what does she want me to do?" But as in all learning curves, we have to go through the bumps to make it a smooth ride.
On Tuesday, I just was not getting it. Hands were confusing the poor horse so much, I bet he was glad to rid himself of me. To move the horse left, not turn, move, the hand needs to pull gently toward you, not how you turn left where you ask the horse to turn its head to the left but just a subtle action with your left hand and a push of your right leg to let the horse know he needs to move to the left. The opposite works for moving to the right. And always ensure your hands return to the central point once the required movement has been complete.
I know all of this is necessary for my knowledge to become an accomplished rider and will all make sense along the way but Tuesday was mind boggling to me.
Because I'm being given the reins more and more during my lessons, having the horse listen to me rather than looking to my instructor is a challenge I'm also facing. So in comes the half halt. This is a clever technique where the rider is essentially telling the horse, "Hey, you need to listen to me". Little half movements as though you were halting the horse, but quickly release the reins in a gentle rhythm allows you to demonstrate through the horse's mouth that his attention needs to be on you, his rider. How the bit works, I'll come to in a later post. But by this rhythmic method, by allowing the bit to let your horse know, I'm in charge, you can quickly gain much more control effectively. I was very surprised how quickly this technique worked. After a few moments, the horse wasn't trying to follow my instructor and was walking in a nice straight line and responding to me.
So until next time, thanks for reading guys.