I've been wondering why a beginner would be given a horse that seems to need so much "riding". Instructors usually start beginners on quiet, willing, very broke "schoolmasters", the point and go type, so cues, balance and nuances can be learned and mistakes can be made without the beginner becoming frustrated or frightened. Has your instructor determined you are a special case and put you on a fast track? I know when my 31 year old stepdaughter wanted to learn to ride, if she had been mounted on Dragon, she wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes, also being a total beginner with no experience at all. She isn't particularly athletic, but she isn't a wimp either.
Honestly I can only speculate. As Iíve mentioned previously there literally are no other adult-sized horses that are more beginner-friendly at this stable, and I am the only new-new beginner that this place has had in awhile. Thereís one pony (Cookie) whoís just under 14HH and who I think
is genuinely a more traditional beginner pony - though even he is a jumper up to I think 2í3Ē - but at 180lbs I am too big to ride him.
So the options here would be either donít train any new-beginner adults (which seems to be what most places around here do), buy a whole horse for something that rarely comes up (and have one less slot for a horse sheíd really want - I doubt sheíd ever do that), or put people on her quite forward but well trained horse - which is what she did.
Now, this place is unapologetically all about sports-training - H/J and Eventing - and Jill did know my background when I started up and that this was the direction I was looking at getting into. I also have no idea if we would have gone this fast if I hadnít been as comfortable as I have been. But as to the horse Iím riding thereís basically only one option. If I wanted a calmer horse, Iíd need to find a different place to train.
Itís definitely not for everyone. Amanda (climbing partner) is debating if she really wants to jump into this place so we can be with the same trainer or if sheíd rather try to find somewhere a bit calmer to train at. For me though, if my posts donít make it obvious, Iím loving it a lot
and have been feeling increasingly fortunate at where I ended up. Iím really not sure if I would have fallen as in love with all of this if I had tried to follow a gentler road. I love the instant feedback on working with a sensitive horse. While Dragon is definitely is forward, sheís also generally pretty patient with me. I love riding her because it really forces my mind into the present - thereís no time to worry about my career, how I need to clean the house, that social event Iím not looking forward to, or anything else. Thereís just being fully mentally engaged with what Iím doing. Itís sublime.
Iím also not sure sheís quite as insanely difficult as people seem to be giving me credit for. Yes, sheís sensitive and I need to make sure she doesnít speed up and I donít yank on her, but with the exception of the one spook itís not like she makes it hard just to stay on. In some ways I think I may actually have a few things easier because I donít have to worry about constantly cueing her forward with my leg. She really does try hard to figure out what I want and give it to me. Itís not like Iím trying to stay on a horse that wants me off her.
Of course, admittedly I also have no real perspective. Iíve ridden two horses, her and that poor sad dude-string trail-horse. One of these days I do want to try out a Ďnormalí beginner horse for comparisonís sake - but I genuinely have no idea where I will find one Iíd be able to ride at this point.
as for how much weight in the stirrup? I am still working on that one. I am constantly readjusting that. like, say, I get too busy with my leg, putting leg on to a horse that is sucking back, then I realize that my heel has come up and I don't have the weight flowing down, so I adjust.
or, I find that I am riding too much off my stirrup and getting too stiff, so I try to ease more weight onto my thighs.
it's a 'feel and adjust' feedback loop.
Yeah, thatís about what I was suspecting. Honestly it seems like here is where the real work is beginning. Itís in trying to figure out how much pressure to put where, how hard to push/pull/squeeze, the timing on shifting my weight around, etc. etc. etc.
I would show the videos posted to your coach. There are issues on both videos. You and your instructor can watch and discuss. To me that is part of the whole lesson.
Many times I would watch and discuss videos with my coach. Was less riding for that pariticular lesson, but well worth it. In other words, do not trust everyone and everything you see on the internet.
Discuss with your coach.
Right now Iím more trying different things and asking her what she thinks of me doing each thing - but itís similiar. The thing is that to be honest Iím only about 80% sure how to turn Ďlooks like Xí into Ďfeels like Yí. I could possibly pull up youtube videos, but Iím getting enough input right now that Iím not sure itís the most effective way to address the topic.
One crazy idea I have right now, which I may ask the barn owner about if itís OK to do this, is trying to video myself during my lease-time and then see what the heck I look like compared to various things. Because to be honest I have very little idea what I look
like objectively. I mean, probably a mess - but what kind