I've been riding for 8 years, but it has always been on well-trained school horses. Obviously the ones I've been riding for the past few years are more difficult but they're still trained and know what they're doing and can cover for me when I make a mistake.
It's safe to say I got a little used to perhaps not doing everything I need to because it wasn't absolutely required, y'know?
WELL. For the past few weeks, my trainer has been putting me on Bling for my lessons. Bling is a 7 yr old Hanovarian, and he's still quite green. Welp. Riding Bling has been super frustrating, but I love it. I love that my trainer thinks that I'm a good enough rider to handle him and I love that he's making me work so hard.
Our first lesson was an absolute DISASTER. I wasn't as relaxed and soft as he needed me to be and when we cantered my heels kept coming up which lead to my spurs hitting his side which lead to him bucking which lead to me squeezing more to stay on...it was bad, and completely my fault. Although, in my defense, that was the first time I'd ever ridden a horse who actually BUCKED. Leo does little hop things but they're super easy to sit and Brooke doesn't put much effort into anything, lol. And Frenchie's bucks usually came after a refusal so I was expecting it. But Bling...well, he's certainly agile! We managed to kick the arena wall TWICE haha. I thought we were going to die over the teeny single fences we were jumping.
I rode him again last night (with much smaller spurs lol) and it was sososo much better...I really focused on staying soft and not letting my seat get all tense and it definitely showed. We were even able to canter a small circle without stalling out and/or bucking, which was a first! (I think I've finally figured out how to effectively use my outside aids in conjunction with my inside ones. Maybe). We even got a few flying changes (though I kinda thought I was coming off during one 'cause he bucked and then changed and he already kind of leaps into his lead changes haha). Jumping was also a lot smoother - he was plowing through them at the beginning so my trainer bumped them up to 2'6" and then after that he was fine :roll:
I still have problems getting him to pick up the correct lead, though. I'm so used to horses that will automatically pick up the lead if you squeeze and/or use your outside leg. My trainer has me working a lot of walk-canter-trot-walk things with him so he doesn't lean on my hands but I just can't seem to consistently get him on the correct lead. When he doesn't get it, I bring him back to a trot and ask again but then my hips tense up and I start bouncing and its bad. I've been bending him to the inside and then adding my outside leg (I try to time it but that doesn't always work) and he gets it like 2/3 of the time but I was wondering if there was something else I should be doing? I generally only ask when we're in the corner and/or on a circle because that improves our chances but...y'know...I feel like I'm still missing something.
Also - any tips for staying with a horse with a big jump? Bling pops his butt up after the jump and I'm finding it really hard to get used to, and I'm afraid I'm going to hit his back after the jump! I find myself throwing my body forward and while it does keep my seat out of the saddle for the entire jump, I'm obviously really unbalanced after the jump, and since I usually need to ask for a lead change on the landing side I need to be balanced so I can balance him and get it.
I've also been riding my trainer's horse, an 18hh DWB 1-2 times a week (when she doesn't have time) and he's definitely helping me learn to use my outside aids when turning :p Thanks, Hopper!
Sorry this is so long! Here, enjoy a picture of Bling :) He's super talented and I KNOW he can jump the moon, if I can just figure out how to ride him effectively.
(PS - I more or less swapped my Circuit for this older Collegiate and I LOVE it so much more!)