Due to that freak snow storm this week I couldn’t do my normal lesson on Tuesday (see previous post), so I made it up yesterday. It all started with PJ being a little short behind. Barbara wanted me to push forward more with my seat to get him to reach to see if he worked out of it (he did). That’s when she noticed I pushed forward with each seat bone but when the respective seat bone went back, it went back too much. I moved my seat bones like a pendulum from front to back. The problem was that swinging them back, opened the door for PJ’s hind legs to go out behind him – his legs followed my seat. I could get him to reach forward but then I basically told him to trail behind. Now I thought I was just letting my seat bones go back to where they were at neutral, but it turned out that wasn’t the case.
Barbara told me to not allow my seat to go out behind me. Easier said than done when you’ve been doing it a certain way your whole life. Below is an illustration of what I’m talking about. She said this should carry over to the trot and canter.
This was how to get him in front of my leg (which is actually in front of my seat). It took a lot of concentration but I actually got it. But if I didn’t think about it, I lost it. I also got it at the trot, and Barbara remarked that my ride looked “softer” and easier. It was easier to get PJ to go but it was harder on my brain and body, trying to think about this new feeling, as well as everything else you need to think about when posting the trot in a 20-meter circle. Then it was time to canter. She said that forward seat feeling was exactly what I needed in the canter and for the transition. I had a lot of trouble getting PJ to canter, since I was asking differently than I normally do. Once we struck off, I had to hold the bucking strap, but when I did that, Barbara said I got it. When I didn’t, she immediately noticed a difference, not only in what I looked like, but how PJ went.
It was quite tiring. We discussed how I could get stronger to to this, and we concluded that there were no gym exercises that could replicate what my core needed to do to push forward correctly. I have a pretty strong core and can do crunches until the cows come home, and I agreed – this took a whole different use of those muscles. So….I see a lot more cantering without stirrups and holding the bucking strap in my future.