I have been working a whole bunch - my shifts at the learning grid, a 24hr service for students at warwick university, show no signs of letting up during exam season: in-fact, I seem to be working more and more as the term continues. Part of the problem is I can't turn down shifts: those dollar signs flash beofre my eyes and I am powerless to resist (actually, I get paid in sterling but no-one sees pound signs flashing in front of their eyes- that's just silly.)
I've decided to make a concerted effort to improve my riding technique, and so booked some lessons at the Warwick International School of Riding. Having almost no English experience other than what I have taught myself (or have been taught, by a pony who has blatant disregard for my washing line reins and lack of leg contact ;) ), I was a little nervous when I rolled up. However, the place and facilities were so beautiful, and the people so friendly that I was sufficiently distracted. It bears testament to their professionalism that every new rider is instantly made to feel as if they belong. Janet, the owner, remembered my name after just one lesson. Now, as my boss of four years still calls me every name under the sun rather than my own..lol...this was a nice change!
The horses are really nice, from what I can tell. There doesn't seem to be any of the usual riding-school trickery - cut corners, napping to the back of the ride etc., and all three horses I have ridden: Dylan, Sooty and Senor, are very light on the forehand and quick to accept the contact.
My third lesson, with Janet rather than sara (? - I think), was definitely a change of pace! Now I understand why everyone looks shellshocked after her lesson - lol. Although I have never been shouted at as much in an hour, it really gives you the drive to ride to your potential. I fell apart a bit, resorting to my old technique of standing up for a stop, but her enthusiasm really motivates you to work hard.
I have some goals that I need to make clear in my head:
- a more secure lower leg. I thought I had a good seat from all these years of riding babies, but in sitting trot and canter my feet are literally falling out of the stirrups! Anyone got any tips for me?
- I was told that I was moving my arms too much. However, I think I can forget about this as I did a lot of crap in that lesson, most of it from anxiousness to please!
- deeper seat - again, I think I was tensing from nerves.
All-in-all - RELAX. damm, this english thing is hard! Jumping was amazing though, despite our taking every fence at a trot. I'm glad Sara taught me two-point before Janet's lesson, and I have to say that it far surpasses sitting upright over fallen logs in a western saddle, throwing ur reins out and hoping for the best.
I read that the Cavalry, when jumping was first conceived, were advised to 'sit back, close your eyes, kick with your legs and shout 'hup!''
Times are changing, it seems.