My lesson yesterday was awesome. Just as I had expected a lot of bad habits had creeped in to my riding. Some of it I was aware of and some of it I was completely in the dark about. I got to the barn early in order to warm up, but as it turned out the first part of the lesson was at the walk, so I didn't really need the extra time.
We worked a lot on my position. First off my stirrups were to long. I thought this was probably the case because I often had trouble keeping them on the ball of my foot and in some cases even lost them all together. We talked about keeping my toes up...I have to admit a lot of the time, especially in the faster gaits, my legs tend to creep up and my toes tend to point downward. We think the better stirrup length will help me to be more stable while I am working on a longer leg.
But toes pointing downward was'nt my only problem. When I was consciously trying to keep my toes up I also turned my foot outward. This kept me using the back of my leg and heel rather then the inside calves to give aids. Consequently, my spurs (when I use them) are in the side of the horse too much. So I rode with my toes turned in...almost pigeon-toed. At first it felt really uncomfortable, but by the end of the lesson I barely noticed. Of course Tracey had to keep reminding me, but I will continue to work on it on my own.
Next we worked on the slight arch in the small of my back. Tracey says if I keep riding that way I will end up with back problems. So, I am to pull in my tummy muscles and imagine pressing against a hand on the small of my back in order to correct the arch. That one was tough because as soon as I released those tummy muscles that arch was back. Instead I rode with my tummy muscles slightly tensed the entire time. At least I tried to. Since my tummy muscles are a bit sore this morning, I'd say I did a pretty good job.
I found that I ride with my hands a tad to high and a tad to far back. That was fairly easy to correct. I also ride with my reins to long. Lastly, I turn my head into the circle when I ride. I'm to look between the horses ears and use my peripheral vision to look to the next point in the circle. It messes with my balance and my horses balance to look inward like I do.
We worked on connecting Boo to the outside rein and on keeping his shoulder from popping out when we are doing a circle on the left lead. These were two of the same things I worked on at the Bernadine Diers clinic I went to a few months back. It's comforting to know that two trainers are seeing the exact same thing and prescribing the same thing to fix the problem. I know Boo and I are on the right track in that area.
So, this sounds like a lot of negative huh? Well, I tried to do everything she said during the lesson, and I had one of the best posting trots I have had in I don't know how long. Normally I hate to post the trot. I'd much rather sit it. Yesterday posting it was easier because he was more forward and my position was much more stable. I loved the lesson and can't wait to practice what I've learned and go back for more!