|she was fascinated by this orange cat who was completely|
unfazed over being snuffled all over.
Everyone laughed and that became the motto for the weekend. I know I called it a lecture that night but it wasn't. Karen had us share and practice things like balance and using our centre to signal. Karen shared a really interesting quadrant to help think about our rides:
The vertical line is energy and the horizontal one is mental state (note, this is not Karen's drawing but it is the same concept). I really liked it and it helped me to think about my rides on Carmen.
We played with ropes to practice how subtle signals need to be and we even practiced 'riding' each other to see how little change in our posture is required to send a strong signal (no we didn't sit on each other, we just stood over top).
My goal for the weekend was to really find some tool to target my tendency to lean forward. Karen helped me to feel my seat bones and to feel when I rock back. The goal is to let the horse move my seat bones but to not let them go back too far. I am sure that I'm not explaining it well but the idea is the if we let our seat bones go back too far it encourages the horse to let their legs go out behind and not step under. Karen used the phrase 'close the back door' which seemed to help.
At first it was really hard to keep that way. Like really hard. Because riding is hard. But I could feel Carmen respond. It was easier on day 2 but it still required a lot of mental focus. Karen had me stand next to her and she put her hand on my back between the shoulder blades and had me resist her pushing me forward. This helped me to feel where I need to be:
It really helped. When I lost it Karen would remind to feel her hand.
|look at that uphill canter and erect rider!|
On day one we even tried a little baby half-pass:
|sitting up, carmen is forward and in the bridle but|
I am not pulling.
I found that I had to keep cycling through my body: core, loose pelvis, back, shoulders.
It was such a great learning experience. At no time did Karen get frustrated with me or lose her sense of humour. I feel that I got some tools to help me in my rides.
I plan to keep practicing.
So I can target the next thing.
Because, (say it with me): riding is hard.
But (like I said at the end of the clinic), it is also so much fun.
Which is why we do it. Because, otherwise we would just be masochists.
And that can't be true. Right?