What shall I learn?

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What shall I learn?

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        04-25-2009, 10:09 AM
    What shall I learn?

    Last summer I started learning how to ride. I have only ridden a couple of times since October, but I had a riding lesson today and in five weeks I will be home from uni for four months' holiday :) I plan on doing a LOT of riding, and I'm trying to think about some of my goals.

    I treat myself to private lessons, so I have a lot of control over what I get to learn. I am not looking for specific things to achieve within the four months - I take as long as I take to learn things - but more a collection of ideas about what I should be pursuing next.

    At the end of last summer, I could ride walk, trot and canter, but was still improving the way I sat the canter - I tense up when I'm trying to nudge the horse forwards. I was learning a bit more about contact and beginning to learn how to perform half-halts. I had had two 'jumping' lessons, and had gone over very low cross-rails in trot, holding onto the horse's mane to make sure my hands didn't pull his mouth. I had done leg yielding in trot, on the straight and on a circle. I was beginning to strengthen my leg so I could keep it still and give strong, clear aids.

    I already know some things I want to work on:

    I want to improve the use of my hands - right now they flap about quite a bit. I want to learn how to use my hands better and really feel what's going on at the end, so I can learn how to properly take and release pressure. In my lesson today, the horse really began to reach for the contact, which was a great feeling :)

    I want to strengthen my lower leg a lot.

    I want to improve my seat so I can really relax in the saddle and stop tensing.

    In the lesson I had today, I had my first go at shortening and lengthening the horse's stride. Mr Darcy was wonderful and began to engage his topline muscles much more and work well. I would like to learn more about this sort of thing, about getting him to use his body properly, giving him lots of impulsion, and so on.

    I want to do good simple changes.

    I want to become much more aware of the way the horse is communicating with me and how I can communicate with him.

    What else do you think would be good things for a novice rider like myself to work on? Obviously there are many things I need to practice, practice, practice, and only experience will help me improve, but any suggestions you guys have for things I should think about doing this summer would be good too.

    Please note that I will be riding about twice a week for half an hour at a time, one-on-one lessons, on school horses that are pretty lazy and will get away with doing as little as possible until you give them a good wake-up call!

    Also, I don't know much about horsecare itself. For example, I don't have to tack up my horse or anything. I have a basic idea of how it all goes and have helped tack up, untack and blanket the horses I ride before, but I would like to cement my knowledge of how to do all that. I can curry and brush a horse and pick out his hooves. But I'd like to see what else I can learn about all the stuff that happens out of the saddle.
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        04-26-2009, 02:36 PM
    Green Broke
    I would acctually suggest taking a lesson with a group of 3 or more. You won't get as much 1 on 1 time, but it helps alot more if you can see the mistakes you make as others make them too.
        04-27-2009, 03:25 AM
    I've had a couple of group lessons - there's usually 5-8 people in them, and right now my experience level is kind of in between two groups, one too low where I would get bored and not be stretched, and one too high where I don't have quite the foundation needed to get the most out of the lessons and spend my time sort of trying to catch up and doing lower-level stuff. I've ridden with both of these groups.

    Still, I know there are benefits to riding with groups, so I will try and get a few group lessons in.

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