February 24, 2011

Centripetal Force and The Saddle

I had a lesson on Divine this past Monday since I had the day off and it worked out for Laurie. I did two lessons back to back. The one on Divine and then one following where I worked with Pstar.

Laurie had me on the lungeline and had me work on my leg. It doesn’t seem to stay back where it should. I wonder if my cheap English saddle I use on Willy puts me in a different position or I just don’t concentrate on that unless I have Laurie there to pick apart my seat. She had me doing trots on the lunge and use my seat in the posting trot to encourage Divine to go faster, take longer steps and then also to slow down. By creating more energy in my rise and fall it makes Divine speed up to catch up to me. It was a lot of fun.

One bad thing that I still don’t understand why it happened (actually I do, tension and leaning forward) I fell during a lungeline canter. Laurie had me hold onto the front of the saddle with my inside hand while she had Divine begin the canter. I think it was something about cantering in a small lunge circle that threw off my balance. Usually on Willy I’m cantering in a straight line, not a circle. Perhaps I should work in the round pen with him and see if I can work better on my seat at the canter. I’ve mainly just farted around with the canter on Willy; I can’t work much on collection with him because of his head tossing, nose to the wind style. I definitely feel with the canters on Willy I’ve done well, moved with him well and tried to at least work on loosening my seat and going with the movement. Why did I tense up so much? Was it holding the saddle instead of having reins and going with the movement of the horses head with my hands? Was it the centripetal force pushing me out of the circle?

No matter what it was I was pretty embarrassed about the fall. Laurie said it was almost in slow motion as I pretty much rolled off Divines left shoulder. I kind of hit the reins and the lungeline so I was worried that Divine got jerked by me…that was the first thing I asked when I popped back up was if she was okay. I felt bad but at least the fall didn’t hurt and Divine was okay, a sandy arena is a nicer place to fall than a hard gravel road! I needed to get my thoughts together since my face flushed and the tears of embarrassment and frustration welled up. I know Laurie doesn’t judge and she’s on my side, she’s a horse person and has had her share of falls but still, falling on your own is one thing but falling in front of someone is downright embarrassing. I’ll continue on though… “just keep swimming!” as Dori the fish would say!  At least I'm in good company! A year with horses  and then Simply horse crazy have had recent "falling" posts!  LOL.

Next lesson was with Pstar. I got her groomed up, hoof picked (which went a little smoother this time, though the back legs where a challenge with getting underneath quick enough while she “kicked” out) and front legs wrapped. Laurie had put a saddle on Pstar once during a lesson with Robin who had questioned how long it took to train a horse to ride. She had explained that all the work leading up to putting the saddle on a horse would make it a pretty "easy" transition. Apparently Pstar had done fine with getting the saddle on and just stood tied with it…that was all. Today Laurie was going to put the saddle on, tie her and if all went well we’d get her moving on the lunge. All went well!

Laurie lunged her at the walk and then the trot. Pstar didn’t very well! Then I got to try and had Pstar change directions many times and also did the two eyes game by having her back away from me and then come towards me using body language. I still need to work on that one. I just received a ground work book in the mail that I got off Amazon. It looks like it has a lot of games to play! I also want to work some “bombproofing” things. Tarps, plastic bags, bikes, umbrellas…scary objects to get her desensitized to weird things or at least to stop and think first.

The more I think about it I think I am up to the challenge of leasing Pstar, working with Laurie to get her worked on and eventually to the point of riding her. I talked a little bit about what I would do with her if I leased her and Laurie told me some of the games we’ve worked on among other games would be good to work on. I could do a lesson with her every other week, with the off week being a riding lesson for me since I’ll not want to lose much ground with that, and can then work on Pstar with what we did on the lesson. I’m excited at this thought! What an opportunity! Pstar is the only “unbroken”, I don’t like that term, horse I would consider buying and here I have the chance to lease her and get my feet wet (kind of have my hand held by Laurie) before I go head first and buy this young mare! I love her and am impressed with her smarts so far!

So what can I do with her during the week after work? I can do groundwork, spooky object work, perhaps get her used to being led by the halter while I jog…something she’d need to do as an endurance horse. I’d like to get her out to a couple new places but I’m sure that will come later on in her training, perhaps as a “lesson abroad” so to speak with Laurie. Since she’s not under saddle and not been on trail rides I want to test all these different things with her before deciding she’s my horse. This lease is going to be a great way to determine that!  Now I just have to talk seriously with Laurie and figure out when to start this since I also have to give notice I assume to Susan that I won't be leasing Willy anymore.  I'll miss him but working with Pstar....SIGH!

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