Jan. 22nd, 2008

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Horseback Riding Update:

- I am taking English riding lessons from the charming Reanna. She is my age, and seems to find me amusing. This is good.

- Instead of riding Tucker (Mr. Slow-but-Steady), I rode Doc (Mr. Sensitive).  Mr. Sensitive is a bit twitchy and will do anything for you, but only if he believes in you. 

- Mr. Sensitive is resistant to bridles and horse-danced in a circle - with me as the center point - while I tightened his girth. I don't think he was counting on me staying planted, continuing to pull, and telling him he was an idiot. I believe I was supposed to scream and flee, or maybe fall down.  Too bad for him, I grew up with much scarier beasties than horses around.

- My stirrups need to be at 11.

- Mr. Sensitive sort of believes in me.  He eventually came to believe that I meant business about staying near the fence and not taking extra rein. 

- We spent much of the lesson working at a trot.  My posting is getting much better, but I need to keep dropping my heels and loosening up my with my knees. I am using the knees as my contact point with the horse, rather than using my entire inner legs, which makes me less stable and the horse less likely to notice my communiques.

- Posting is really less about coming out of the saddle and more about rocking your hips. I'm a belly dancer, so I got hips down.

- I find two point position (where you stay at the UP of the up-down) harder, but got better when Reanna had me do Sitting Trot (jouncejouncejounce), then just tip forward a tiny bit. I got to the point where I didn't have to hang onto his lovely mane for dear life, which felt like progress.

- At the end of the lesson we cantered.  First, Mr. Sensitive didn't believe I wanted to canter.  After I administered some "ferocious kicks" (as per direction), he believed I wanted to canter, but didn't believe I was capable so kept dropping down to a trot.  I got the seat right the next try, and we cantered all the way around the ring, including both corners, a couple of times.  Cantering is great - it is like riding in a large, wooly rocking chair, and your job is to polish the saddle with the seat of your trousers.  Reanna was very impressed by my cantering, which made me happy.

-  I need to remember that one steers this sort of horse with this sort of tack by pulling one's hands straight back towards one's hips, rather than neck reining or pulling to the side.

- I dismounted all by myself - Reanna wasn't even holding his bridle - in the approved fashion. This means I kicked free of both stirrups, then - in one supposedly smooth motion - pulled my right leg up over the horse and slid to the ground. I was very impressed by this, myself, since I had never done it before.

- She also admired my boots, which had me cackling with glee inside.

- And my next lesson is next Friday. Yay.

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