Horse: John Wayne!
Time: 1.5 hr
Ride: Flag work this time, so no fun videos of me chasing cows today!
I'm still really trying to get that position down that Coach wants from me. I have a really hard time translating what he's telling me into my body during the warm up. When I first started riding with him he had me trying to sit really extended, fast trots. I was having a horrible time at it, which caused me to be bracey, etc. I'm just so used to posting big trots like that, that my body feels unnatural and bouncey at a big extended trot. Things to work on.
However, we chatted about it, and he said that I could post if I wanted too, which made it easier for me to bring my centre of gravity forward and allow JW to extend and reach more. Coach wants his horses really extending and working in the trot before we start.
From there we did some dry-work, rollbacks, stops and backs. I'm finally easing out of the throw my legs forward and back, back, habit that the team-penner taught me a few years ago. Thanks for teaching me how not to stop, buddy. When I can take a moment to think, "deep breath, rock your pelvis, SIT, stop" my stops are nice and smooth, when I'm actually in the heat of the moment is when I revert back to bad form, and throw my legs out to brace my stop.. causing a bracey horse.
Then, it was flag time.. John Wayne is very, very responsive as well as highly sensitive to legs - especially ill-communicating legs. This makes for a horse that is not as forgiving of my newbie experience, than CD. However, it's always a good experience to ride different horses, and this one is definitely teaching me to be quiet, and learn timing... or else I lose him.
For example, Coach kept commenting that "something is going on with your left leg", it's not as strong, it's not as present, and it causes JW to leak away from the flag, and not hold a consistent line whilst working. I know I have a weak left side, it's appeared this year due to Jingle's uneveness, and it's something I'm working on correcting, but it's difficult because sometimes I simply don't realize that I have one leg "on" more than the other.
Because of my weaker left side, while working the flag on my left cow-side leg, I would turn to head right (cow-side) and then lose JW and have to kick him up to hustle to the flag, then, as the flag went left (cow-side) I would be behind in where I was suppose to be, and would have to "ride him" more to get him where I wanted him, but that would throw my timing, causing me to over-ride him left and him not stop quick and deep enough. A horse like CD I can over-ride and he forgives my timing mishaps, a horse like JW, you have to be on, and your timing is crucial. It's a really good lesson in learning where I need to be, why I need to be there and how I can effectively get there. Timing, Timing, Timing. It's all about timing.
We started to get it together after a pretty hard ride of trying to figure eachother out. It's all so quick, and sometimes I wish I could just pour molasses over the entire experience and just slow, it, down. Even with a flag, and Coach controlling the speed, it's still much more fast paced than I ever realized before I started my foray into the sport.
Afterwards, Coach and I took a lovely outdoor stroll down the pasture he has for his cows. It was nice. I got to pick his brain a little bit about showing and what he likes to see and do when he shows, and of course - my favourite topic - breeding. I also brought up the fact that I wouldn't mind trading some helpful hours for lessons (since, they are pretty darn pricey), and he said that we could definitely work something out which is great news. After May Long we'll have to get that all sorted.
For Next Time: Like the country song... timing is everything, I need to really focus on riding slow, and calm.