Saturday, November 30, 2013

That Inside Rein

Lesson day today.  Probably a little overdue, but sometimes life gets busy.  :)

I didn't grow up having riding lessons, so a lot of things is correcting habits that have been instilled over the years.  One habit that became apparent today was dropping the inside rein.

The version of my commandments based on today's lesson:

Thou Shalt Not Drop the Inside Rein

Thou Shalt Stop Leaning Forward and Putting Horse On Forehand

Thou Shalt Tip Inside Shoulder Back to Actually Make It Even

Thou Shalt Keep Riding the Horse so It Doesn't Relocate Unexpectedly

Thou Shalt Remember To Keep Control of those Haunches on Turns

OK, sounds like a pretty basic list, but it always seems like back to basics is my theme now while riding.  Some horses are able to rise above my flaws, but the Semi Feral Mare is much more honest.  She doesn't always understand, so she looks to my posture, riding, and abilities to guide her. 

We had some good moments today working on that wonderful left circle.  I actually have a better idea now of how to fix it.  When riding, I knew I dropped my inside (left) shoulder, which I damaged while I was a swimmer. So I would try to pick it up, but it wasn't a sure fix.  I guess what feels "up" and "straight" to me, isn't actually so straight.  So I have to physically think "up" and "back"to get my body back closer into alignment where it should be.  

Then it became apparent when working on turns onto the centerline the other habit I have.  I grew up pretty "legs off" of the horses.  I would guide the semi feral mare onto the centerline and her haunches would end up swinging out.  Same type of issues with any changes of directions.  Anything requiring my left leg made this haunch swinging more evident.

So a bunch of centerlines and so forth later, I feel like I am almost exaggerating catching and supporting her with the other leg.  Of course, seems basic to some people, but something I never had pointed out to me, nor certainly something I learned while growing up!  Too bad, I never had a dressage basis in childhood.

Then again, I have a lot of good things to be thankful for with the horseback education I have.  There's something raw and primal about learning how to ride horses bareback, over varied terrain, in storms, rain, mud, and good weather too.  So while I may not be aware of my legs, at least I could control my seat.  :)

Towards the end of the lesson, we ended up working on leg yields, which were successful to a certain point.  I didn't originally have much lateral control of the semi feral mare and there are still a lot of times when she thinks leg means "go" and "anxiety", so for leg yields to be done fairly comfortably with a constant pace is a good win to me.

So another day in which the semi feral mare did good.  While I have had the privilege of riding many horses that are fancy and make up for my flaws, there's something to be said about trying to learn to successfully teach and ride an older, sometimes cranky broodmare who is an exact reflection of me. 

Except the broodmare part.  I don't usually do children without ketchup.

So what are the basic things you are working on?  Sometimes it seems some of the easiest things are in fact, the hardest to do correctly since we take them for granted.


  1. See today's post . . . going back to basics is always, well, basic . . .

  2. Sometimes I feel like "back to basics" is my personal tagline. I'm working on riding more from my leg and less from my hand... which you know, is pretty much Hunter Riding 101.


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