Tuesday, August 25, 2009

08/24/09 Ransom Lesson - On His Neck

If anybody wants to share my stiff muscles, or give me an "atta girl, it'll all be okay, they'll stretch out eventually", I'm accepting.. ;)

Ransom, hunter. Warmed him up on the lunge line in side reins, and found him to be pretty soft & compliant. This made me very glad I exercised him on Sunday, since Sunday's start wasn't nearly as pleasant. I mounted up, and after a little walking, a few halts, Jen said to me, "C'mere, and halt." So I did, and she said, "Let's shorten the stirrups a hole."

NOW! I see how those little hunter teenagers keep their heels down. Stirrups are so short there's nowhere else to put the heels but down. Hmm.. And THAT'S Where those knee rolls are on the saddle. WOW! I wondered why they were visible but I couldn't ever feel them under me.

With that taken care of, I rode a little trot. Ransom felt, um, okay, not Ransom, but me, I felt forward. Felt as if I was inches from tumbling over his shoulder. Worked a LOT on two-point at the trot. Went over the trot poles a while, and learned a few things...

I need to lean forward at the hips, more
Need to open up shoulders, more
Need to lengthen back, more
Heels-down no longer an issue
Stick tooshie out, more

After the trot poles, before swinging back around the arena and doing them again, I found it easier to sit his trot. How fun is that?! Easier and more relaxing on my lower back to sit the trot,, cool! If my shoulders are bent in, and I'm too far upright, Ransom stumbles through the trot poles. If my shoulders are opened up, chest-out, "mooning the crowd behind me", and reins are decently loose, he moves right through clean. Reins too lose, he'll squirt into a canter mid-way through the poles. We worked on some trot with what felt like my entire upper body laying down on his neck. From elbows forward, my arms were on his neck, and I still felt that "weeble wobble right over his shoulder" feeling. From the jumping with Romeo, I was used to staying upright, so I didn't lean too far forward & inhibit his shoulders lifting. With Ransom, I need to lean way forward, not worry about the shoudlers, but let his toosh push him up over jumps and through the poles.

Yeah... speaking of. Canter in those short stirrups?! Now THAT is going to take some practice. I can't even think of how I used to canter in some long -stirrup two-point. Yipes. The canter in these short stirrups, my rear is not in the saddle as much as I'd like. Darn it.. something to work on. I will, however, laugh at Ransom. I guess I got a little spoiled on Chewie - I could perch up in a two-point, squeeze with legs, and kiss to him, he'd canter. Ransom?! Heck no, buddy. Toosh has to be planted in the saddle, squeeze with both legs, reins in contact, and mean it. Then, he'll canter proudly & beautiful. Don't put the hiney in the saddle? He'll just extend the trot more and more, waiting on the right cues. Very neat... Ain't no accidentally-canter with Ransom..

No crossrails in this lesson. I feel like I've got to be a little more secure in the canter with short stirrups before I can let him jump. Ransom has always landed in a canter, and I don't see any reason to upset myself or him jumping until my canter seat is a bit more relaxed.

Gonna need LOTS of hours in the new stirrup length on the flat & over poles. Lots! It got easier as the lesson progressed, but I'm feeling it in the body this morning. Sore & stiff. Everything feels a bit "stuck in spot", bending & reaching is a bit beyond difficult. argh... where's the heater... yup, *flick a switch* space heater in the office this morning it is.

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