Second lesson today...
   

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Second lesson today...

This is a discussion on Second lesson today... within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • What to expect on a horse riding lesson after 10 years
  • Should i be cantering on my second lesson

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    05-21-2012, 02:02 PM
  #1
Foal
Second lesson today...

I embarrassed myself. My instructor says I'm being far too hard on myself, but I felt like a complete failure. I had to stop in the middle of the lesson, just flat out halt the horse and sit and compose myself, because I was feeling like I had no business being on a horse and I needed to just give up and go home. *sigh*

Last week was great. The only problem I had last week was that I was putting too much "umph" into my rising trot, so I was coming up too high. Other than that everything was very good... she said she was extremely impressed with how well I did, since it'd been over 10 years since I've ridden. She complimented my posture, told me I have wonderful soft, quiet hands, etc. I did a sitting trot very well, went from sitting, to posting, to 2 point, etc. By the end of the lesson we did a very nice BIG extended trot.

Today... Today started out okay. Until she asked me to canter. I don't know why, but it's like I can't remember *how* to transition into the canter. I know that I need to have a nice steady trot going, I know that I need to half-halt when I ask him to canter, and I know that I need to sit. Buuuuut.... things just weren't working. One time I asked for the canter and he went into this HUGE extended trot and I kind lost my balance because I was expecting him to just go into the canter like I asked, and I lost a stirrup, and then I got TOTALLY frustrated with myself, and had to halt and just sit and compose myself for a minute. Ugh. So my instructor was like "Okay... I know you're capable of this. Let's try again, just pick up the canter and go 20 strides and then come back down to a trot and we will do the rest of the lesson in a trot. You just need to get the canter to get over the "hump" so it doesn't become more of an issue later." So. I took deep breaths and I went out on the rail and took my time. I walked for a minute, then picked up a nice and steady rising trot and then I asked him for the canter... and he picked up the wrong lead. I said screw it, let him canter on the wrong lead up the long side of the arena and pulled him back down to a trot. I got over the hump, and figured it was good enough.

For the rest of the lesson I worked on going from a big, quick extended trot on the long sides of the arena to a slower, "regular" trot on the short sides using only my seat/posting speed to change his speed. So we did end on a good note.

I told my instructor that I felt like I was wasting her time (lol), and she told me that I am doing a wonderful job and that I am being far too hard on myself. I wish that I could see myself riding, because I feel like I am just all over the place and horrible and have no business even trying to ride. And she told me that only the riders who are truly good are so critical and hard on themselves. :)

She is super sweet, I love my instructor. So... even though I'm way less than thrilled with the way my ride went, I'll just have to make it better next time. This all used to come so naturally to me, and it seems so strange to have to actually think about it and work at it now.
     
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    05-21-2012, 02:27 PM
  #2
Weanling
Wasting your instuctors time because you're not good enough. Silly :) if you were awesome you wouldn't need your instructor(who is surely thankful to get paid to do something they probably love)!!
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    05-21-2012, 02:30 PM
  #3
mls
Trained
If it's been 10 years - your problem is your muscle memory. Your brain remembers but your muscles don't. Give yourself some time to stretch and bend back into riding shape!
Skyseternalangel likes this.
     
    05-21-2012, 02:33 PM
  #4
Trained
So happy for you. Even though I used to teach lessons, I love taking classes, and a 2nd set of eyes helps you so much when you're riding.
Congratulations! You seem to have found an instructor with a horse that is challenging, yet not dangerous. (Have your read SOME of the lesson posts here, lately?!?)
I'd like to suggest that you do some exercises between lessons. Riding is a physical and mental activity, and a stronger body makes your riding easier for you.
First do about 50 plies every day before you take a shower. I do this on days that I do not ride or heavy garden to make my 54yo legs able to mount from the ground. This will help with your upper legs and to get your heels down.
DON'T worry about turnout. Toes turned out do not have to look like a clock, 9-3, just a 45-50 degree angle will do. DO pay attention to position, which is in the first video.
Here is how to do a 2nd position demi-plie. They are easy to do, but can make you sore.
Video: How to Plie in Ballet Dancing | eHow.com
Ballet Moves: Demi-Pliés - For Dummies
Second, stretch every day. Include straddling the floor, stretch to each toe and stretch to get your head to or as close to the floor as possible.
Third, do 3-4 sets of crunches. Do NOT put your hands in back of your head. Instead reach beyond your knees. Do a set of 10, relax, repeat.
Lastly, use soup cans to strengthen your arms.
ohfroggit likes this.
     
    05-22-2012, 09:06 PM
  #5
Foal
Thank you!

Corporal - I definitely do need to get back in to shape. *Probably* should have done that first, but eh. After 2 kids my body is totally crazy anyway... especially after my daughter (who is 20 months old). I gained 90lbs with her and lost it all, but I'm definitely not toned like I used to be!

I'm just so frustrated with myself... part of me knows that I am a total beginner again and I have to relearn everything, that I can't expect to be able to get on and ride perfectly after over 10 years. But part of me is like... you've done this before, you should be able to do it NOW. And the thing is that I originally learned all of this when I was 9 years old, so I don't remember at all HOW I learned it. By the time I stopped riding it was totally automatic, I didn't have to think about how I gave cues or anything. And I haven't thought about it at all in the time that I've been away from horses. :/

I don't know... I wonder if my instructor is moving me along too quickly? Should I have been cantering in my second lesson? Or is it my own insecurity that is holding me back?
     
    05-22-2012, 09:25 PM
  #6
Showing
I think it's you that is holding you back honestly.

You cannot expect amazingly good riding after 10 years of no riding. MLS said it perfectly, your muscles need time to stretch out and get riding fit.

You're doing a wonderful job so far.. but don't kick yourself in the butt. Give yourself a chance.. being rude to yourself will just put you completely off of horses and you'll regret that.

You'll get there, hugs.
Corporal likes this.
     
    05-22-2012, 09:33 PM
  #7
Foal
I've only had a few lessons so far - the first few were really good but the last two or three have been frustrating. From what I hear, that's kinda how it goes. It's been 10 years...cut yourself some slack.
     
    05-22-2012, 10:48 PM
  #8
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohfroggit    
*Probably* should have done that first, but eh. After 2 kids my body is totally crazy anyway... especially after my daughter (who is 20 months old). I gained 90lbs with her and lost it all, but I'm definitely not toned like I used to be!
Nah, the riding itself will start getting you back in shape. No need to do it first. And after that many years and a couple of kids, it's not just your muscles that have changed (and the muscle memory that has gone to earth) - your whole center of balance is different now. So even if you still had easy access to the muscle memory and were totally fit, you'd *still* be having to relearn some of that stuff just because your body isn't the same body it was when you learned it the first time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohfroggit    
I'm just so frustrated with myself... part of me knows that I am a total beginner again and I have to relearn everything, that I can't expect to be able to get on and ride perfectly after over 10 years. But part of me is like... you've done this before, you should be able to do it NOW. And the thing is that I originally learned all of this when I was 9 years old, so I don't remember at all HOW I learned it. By the time I stopped riding it was totally automatic, I didn't have to think about how I gave cues or anything. And I haven't thought about it at all in the time that I've been away from horses. :/
Well, you sound pretty in touch with yourself and your motivations, etc. so that's good. Just maybe need a little extra encouragement. I'll try for that: I used to ride bareback all the time as a kid, walk, trot, etc. Didn't even use a bridle, just a halter with a lead rope. Never had lessons, this was all strictly backyard pony stuff. Fast-forward a few decades, and I've been trying to learn to sit the trot on my horse for a freaking YEAR. He's got a gigantic movement and just launches me out of the saddle with every pace, and I can sit it badly, but it doesn't feel like it's getting much better. We're doing a lot of other stuff, and that's great, but the flipping sitting the trot makes me want to tear my hair out. And I think "How the heck did I ever do this without a saddle?!?!" But, you know, that was a long time ago, this is a huge horse with a massive movement and a ton of energy, and it's a different game. Being rough on myself for not sitting the trot better just makes it worse.

Because of that - my guy will launch himself like a freakin' rocket into a canter from a walk or standstill, but my instructor doesn't care for that and wants me to learn to transition him up from the trot. Because I can't sit the trot on him worth a darn means it's taken forever for us to get to cantering. So this is a horse that I've owned since October, and we only started cantering together week before last in lessons. And that? It's down one long side of the ring, around a corner, and into the short side, then it's dropping back into the trot.

So, I'd say, cantering on lesson 2 without falling off, freaking out, or any other undesirable thing, well, that's pretty darn good!

And - that picking up the extended trot without busting into the canter - I'm sure your trainer was on that, but when I learned to canter (on a different horse with a smaller movement) we had that issue, and it was because my timing with the half-halt and leg aids was off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohfroggit    
I don't know... I wonder if my instructor is moving me along too quickly? Should I have been cantering in my second lesson? Or is it my own insecurity that is holding me back?
If you feel like you're not in control, and that it's unsafe, then yeah, you're being moved along too quickly. On the other hand, if it's just challenging, and you're worried about your ability, but you can still demonstrate the skills (keeping control of the horse, keeping your balance, etc.) then yeah, you're just psyching yourself out. Only one who can answer that is you, though. If it's making you uncomfortable in some way other than the "Rats, I'm going to have to deal with that" way, then you should let your instructor know. There's plenty to do at the walk, let alone at the trot.
     
    05-23-2012, 11:22 PM
  #9
Foal
Sounds like you are doing great! I agree with all of the comments above.....only thing is that I am surprised that your instructor even suggested a canter on your second lesson after 10 years of not riding. When I began as a "re-learner" just over a year ago, I began really slow with balance and control work.....just to reacquaint myself with riding again.

My advice would be to not take yourself so seriously....and most of all....have fun!!!!! :)
     
    05-24-2012, 09:38 AM
  #10
Foal
I'm a re-learned also and I know how tough it is! I used to event at the upper levels and then had an accident. 6 years + 1 kid later, I rode for the first time and my body won't cooperate the way it used to! It's frustrating, oh, I know. Do you have somebody that can videotape you riding? I drag my husband out and force him to tape me because I might feel as if I'm all over the place while riding, but I'll watch the video and it's not nearly as bad as I thought. Like you, I'm way too hard on myself.

Congrats on starting to ride again, and if your instructor thinks that you are perfectly capable of cantering on only your second lesson in 10 years then that says a lot about your riding capabilities!
     

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