First English Lesson Tonight

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First English Lesson Tonight

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        09-06-2013, 10:23 PM
    First English Lesson Tonight

    Sam and I took our first English lesson tonight. Wow. What a workout.

    We borrowed a bridle with a snaffle bit. I'm completely confused by how to hold the English reins.

    Sam was unhappy with the snaffle bit and couldn't understand why I kept pulling on his mouth with taunt reins.

    We worked at the walk for quite a bit, getting used to the bit action and posture.

    Then came the trot. And the post.

    I am post-helpless. Post-deficient.

    I hang too long on my up and double-touch my down. I felt like I was going to thrust my hips right over the horse's head and the whole time my horse was doing the foxtrot instead of the two-step.

    We also learned that Sam doesn't understand why he needs to stay against the wall.

    I managed to actually post for 10 feet then something happened and I was doing up & down down instead of up down.

    Sam also needs to learn how to sustain a trot for more than 5 feet.

    By the end of the session we were both sweaty. I had no idea riding a horse was so exhausting.

    Wish us luck!
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        09-06-2013, 10:33 PM
    Well, Sam probably didn't want to continue on trotting becuase he felt how unbalanced you were. He was just taking care of you.

    Don't try to have too much contact with him for awhile, on the reins I mean.

    What bit is he used to? A curb of some type? Ride him just like you would with that bit/bridle for a bit. Dont' try to have him on contact all at once. For one thing, if you are struggling with your own balance, you dont' want to have much contact on the bit, since you'll end up bumping his mouth too much.

    Use the walk to practice riding with a bit more contact, and when you work on the trot, go to very loose reins.

    If you can get a lunge line lesson on either him or a good solid school horse, you'll get the feel for the trot without having to worry about steering the horse. This can be invaluable.
        09-06-2013, 10:39 PM
    I'm happy you tried English :) And it's all good.. posting is a lot of work!!

    You'll get it in time, and Sam will feel more balanced under you once that happens :)
        09-06-2013, 10:46 PM
    Thanks Tinyliny and Sky!

    I think he will make a great English riding horse, we just need to learn these new techniques.

    I was watching a student practicing for her show this weekend earlier this week and I am very hopeful that we will one day be able to execute some of the moves.

    Our new barn is hosting a show this month on the 28th. I am going to go and watch. Maybe one day.....

    Well, a girl can dream, right?
    DriftingShadow likes this.
        09-06-2013, 10:49 PM
    I have no doubts you'll be able to get there if you set your heart on it and work hard! :)
    DriftingShadow likes this.
        09-06-2013, 10:56 PM
    FWIW, VS Littauer ( believed beginning riders should ride with slack in the reins, and only apply pressure to give a momentary cue. In his system of teaching, the difference between 'elementary control' and 'intermediate control' was learning to ride with contact.

    He felt it was unfair to the horse for someone who didn't have a secure, steady seat (to include when posting) to ask the horse for contact.

    You can also practice elements of 'English' riding while using western equipment. A new bit arrived for Mia today (I'm on the quest for the perfect bit...could be a loonnngggg quest), so we practiced two point, half seat and posting while trotting turns around pylons and cantering around the arena - while using an Australian style saddle, holding the reins with one hand and this (new) bit:

    It is entirely fair to introduce a horse to a different style of riding in small chunks of newness...and if it makes you feel any better, I'm a little tired too!
        09-06-2013, 11:00 PM
    Bsms, that's a nice bit! I like the look of it. How much was it?

    And Mr. Littenaur wasn't the only horseman to feel that beginners (and you are a beginner to English riding) shouldn't ride on contact.
        09-06-2013, 11:14 PM
    Btw, Sam, be sure to get video of these first lessons, to look at in a year's time for a good laugh!
    bsms, QHriderKE and AQHSam like this.
        09-06-2013, 11:18 PM
    I'm sure there are other English riders who felt the same way. I just happened to see it first in Littauer's book.

    The bit was $50 (Bob Avila Straight Roller Training Bit - , more than most I've tried. But I like the quality so far. It has sweet iron bars and the center piece is a big copper roller. In playing around with bits, I've found Mia is one of those horses who gets rid of stress by playing with a roller - she'll start to get nervous, I'll hear the roller spinning, and her back will relax. Without the roller, she tends to start chewing on the bit.
    tinyliny likes this.
        09-06-2013, 11:48 PM
    Aqhsam, It's a tough transition to make. I'm glad you have a great attitude and sense of humor about it! Hang in there, you'll make fast progress.

    Most beginners will jerk their hands around when they start to post. This makes a horse stop trotting real fast. It's very common. I teach people to post without reins. When they can post with their hands perfectly still, they may have their reins back.

    Developing you seat and balance when you start out are far more important than mouth contact. That should make Sam feel better.
    tinyliny and AQHSam like this.

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