A Spring-like Lesson in December


Here we are 5 days away from Christmas, but it sure doesn’t feel like it outside.  Heat Miser has decided to push his brother Cold Miser out of the state for the time being.  By the end of the weekend, temperatures will be close to the 70-degree mark.  Crazy!  If we were further south, I’d buy it, but I was enjoying some riding without the sweaty hair and smelly riding helmet.

My fabulous husband gave me a very nice video camera and tripod for my birthday a few weeks ago.  For years I have been trying to use my Flip Video Camera or the video option on my digital camera to capture video of my rides.  These required Ms. C to hold them, follow my movement, and keep Ike and I in the frame all while trying to instruct.  We had some limited success, but it really wasn’t the best solution.  This new video camera mounts to the tripod and it will actually stay ON and continue recording until Ms. C turns it off.  [My camera was notorious for turning itself off after two or three minutes of recording, so we really didn’t get to see much of the lesson.]  Ms. C is actually able to watch Ike and I and instruct and it is all captured on video.  🙂  I reviewed the lesson this evening and seeing what was happening while Ms. C provided input was definitely helpful to this visual learner.

Today’s lesson was tough.  I spent most of the lesson in sit trot while trying to follow Ms. C’s detailed instructions on riding Ike with the proper flexion and body alignment while on a circle.  The concept sounds so simple, but in practice it is very technical and challenging…plus trying to maintain my seat in sit trot just added to the ongoing conversation with myself (relax your butt, shoulders down and back, long leg, stop pinching with your knees, fingers closed, breathe, half halt, oops too late on that half halt…) all while trying to execute Ms. C’s instructions.  Ike is still young and trying to learn where all his body parts are supposed to be at any given moment.  He might know what I want him to do, but that doesn’t mean that his hulking body cooperates all the time.  Perhaps it is also my lack of eye/hand coordination that contributes to the challenge.  Watching the video was a definite plus in cementing what the proper movement should look like.  The true test will come tomorrow when I try to reproduce what we achieved today.

We also worked on some walk-canter transitions which were not as crisp as I would like.  Since it has been a while since we schooled them, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that they need some work.  Note to self to add that to our wintertime homework list.

After our canter work, it was time for leg yield and some trot lengthening.  Ike and I had laid off the schooling of lengthenings in recent weeks due to the slippery footing.  Before this odd heat wave, we had some very cold nights, some light snow, some ice and rain which made the arena footing a bit slick.  You know it is bad when your horse loses his hind end while just doing your trot warm up on light contact.  Today the footing was just right, so we took advantage of the day and schooled our lateral work and our trot lengthenings.  I’m sharing with you a snippet of today’s video footage.  Yes, I know that we are not always perfectly aligned with our leg yields – the hind end gets ahead of the rest of the body and sometimes it gets left behind.    Yes, I know we still need better push over Ike’s back for our lengthenings.  I need to do a better job with my half halts to rebalance Ike, but I thought I’d let you see where we are with our schooling.  Are we perfect?  Nope, but I’m perfectly happy with where we are and where we are going!

Enjoy the show:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0ttSZnl1Ik



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