Monday, March 15, 2010

Just keep swimming

Productive weekend, I think. Sunday's lesson was about tempo, using my spine as an aid, canter departs, moral authority, and not always practicing in the same way. This was the first time MT had talked about the idea of using the spine as an aid -- he also called it putting his back on the horse. I don't know that I'm entirely clear on it, but I was able to get results when I used it: I sat up straight and sat or posted right smack in the middle of the saddle, and Rev's gaits got clearer, better, and more forward. MT also talked about how, when I unknowingly start leaning forward, my seat and weight aids get muddled, so Rev just starts ignoring them. So I'll be working with that idea this week, as well as clear and short leg aids and canter departs.

By the end of the lesson, I was able to get pretty prompt canter departs -- after I'd invoked the moral authority of my stick behind my leg. Heh. Plus, I was able to recreate the effective aid I'd figured out on Friday by myself. It took me a while, and I had to remember the trot I had on Friday, but we got there.

Odd note: MT was waiting patiently while I was flailing around and not getting any success, and after several flaily circles, he asked me "So, what are you actually doing to get the canter?" Something about the pause to switch my brain from physical to verbal, and then trying to verbalize what I was doing, fixed my problem. As I started to narrate my aid as I gave it -- "First I move my outside leg back," -- I got the canter depart. Just odd. I think my words didn't move as fast as my brain did in analyzing what I needed to do and then doing it, because I know for dang sure that not only did I put my outside leg back, but then I sat on my inside seatbone and cued with my outside leg and then my inside leg while I scooped my inside seatbone forward. Strange experience, and it makes me think about how my brain and body work together ... makes me wonder how I can harness that. As it were.

On Saturday, it was so unbelievably windy at the barn! I commented to TW and a couple of other people as we watched a lesson that I thought we might all wake up in Oz, the wind was blowing that hard. It was windy enough that MT came over to mention to me that I should probably avoid the A end of the barn, since the wind stripping sometimes comes loose, and the wind was worst on that end. He gave me a fairly strong caution -- which prompted me to wonder if maybe I ought to just longe Rev and wait to ride until the next day. MT said that was his plan for his own horses, so ... yknow, I'll follow his wisdom!

Rev also got introduced to the P3 machine on Saturday.

She was ... not impressed. I think "freaked out" isn't a bad description for it. She didn't mind it over her shoulder and neck, but when MT got to her back and hip area, she was definitely weirded out. She would jump forward or sideways when one of her larger muscle groups would twitch, with the expression of "OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!" on her face. Total non-comprehension. Fair enough, I suppose -- horses who haven't had the P3 used on them can't possibly have a frame of reference for electrical charges making their muscles twitch involuntarily!

I hope she gets to like it as much as one of the other barn horses, who practically drools when he gets P3-ed. MT saw a difference in her when he rode her on Sunday; whether it was the P3 or the fact that he hopped on without longing or something else entirely, it was a good difference.

Looking forward to riding this evening after Spanish tutoring; it's gorgeous out, and I want to work more and longer, without giving in to the "aw, okay, good enough" monster! My weekly schedule is going to be clearing up next week or the week after, which will be nice. The standing Tuesday evening thing is falling apart, so that opens Tuesday nights up. Depending on how froggy* I feel during the week, I'll try to ride Mondays as well, and keep up my existing schedule ... which will be a good thing. That plus half-training ought to keep Rev pretty busy. :)

* Meaning energetic and enthusiastic. I have no idea where this term came from, but I use it. I'm not always feeling froggy; annoyingly enough, my immune system is pretty weak, and I end up wearing myself out and getting sick or whatnot pretty easily. TW actually "sentenced" me to early bedtimes yesterday, when I couldn't stop coughing after my lesson ... and she's a wise lady. Sleep, vitamins, APF, and not trying to do it all, that's my sentence.

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