Ransom is the man! He's the ultimate teacher, and we had a great ride. Worked on a brief side-rein warmup, which he did well with. To keep building muscle, I ought to use the side reins more often.
Lesson total was a good hour's work. I quickly got into the plans of my lesson, with canter-left work. I felt pretty solid... see the past tense there? "Felt"... Jen kept telling me, "sit back on your pockets, lean back, relax your tummy". I told her, "Yeah, and one of these days I'll figure out how to do that." Funny to me, I was having a whole conversation talking about cantering him headed left on the circle. *giggle* Who would've thought I'd be so relaxed I could have a conversation at the canter?! Cool!!
Then my seat changed. We went to the walk, and Jen pointed out my pelvis was exactly where it's supposed to be in the saddle - tucked underneath me. I moved up to a posting trot, and we worked on it there for a while. With my seat underneath, it honestly felt like my legs and feet were in front of me, which Jen assures me isn't true. She said, "Your legs haven't moved, just your seat. Feels different, huh?" I answered, "Yeah, that'll take getting used to. No way I would've done that on my own." I slid in and out of "rightness", changing directions a few times.
With the trot seat about understood, heading right, she said, "Well, get down to that end of the arena where you're comfortable, and pick up a canter. Let's see if it's any different." Oh yeah, it was. My weight felt like it was in two places - balls of my feet on the stirrups, and calves on Ransom's side. I felt a bit "above" the saddle, but in the middle of it. Ransom responded to this new balance with more uninterrupted canter-right than he's done before. At one point, he did break to a trot, and I quickly thought about it, set my hands calm, and squeezed. no grabbing mane or saddle pad first! It was a really sweet transition, and again a really nice canter-right.
(In my standard analyzing fashion, at the end of that canter, I stopped, thought about it, and realized where my weight was. It's still not perfect, but for the first time, the canter-right felt better than the left, and quite a bit more secure. Pretty cool to be in the gait long enough to work on it, for sure.)
Worked on more posting trot, focusing on my new seat position. Ransom became agitated, thinking the lesson was near over. Sorry, fella. Switched it up, alternating between posting & sitting trot, the sit feeling very different than it ever has.
So, neat stuff, and learned two important things.. Two "Lightbulbs", which seem to happen every time I ride Ransom.
#1 Tuck my pelvis underneath me, pay no attention to that "legs in front" feeling. If I feel leaning forward, I am, and adjust accordingly. Looking forward to getting some video of the differences in my body position at all gaits to learn from.
#2 Just because Ransom thinks he's done, he's not. Push him a bit further than he thinks he needs to go, and begin ending the rides all over the arena - in the middle, at the end opposite the gate, in the corners, on the rail, etc. Mix up the "ending" to the rides so he gets out of the habit of anticipating when we're done.
Fantastic hour & a half total work session. We had a blast, and learned much.
Mr Dale Farrier comes to the house today. Both boys will be appreciating that, as will I. Ransom in new feet will be perfect for Friday. Countdown to BlueRibbon - 3 days.