I had another lesson on Aria yesterday (that makes 6!) and have another today. I’m really trying to cram them in before she comes home at the end of the month. The more often I can ride her in front of my trainer(s) the more he/she can fix or adjust anything I might be doing wrong before I have to recreate my lessons on my own. We’ve made big improvements. I still ride her like a hot mess (lol) but at least we look better doing it.
I’ve really been focusing on sitting up straight while I’m riding and sitting back when asking for an upward transition. It’s not easy but I’m starting to feel pretty confident while riding her. Which is great because I hopped up on Ben’s back late last week for a trail ride and got my confidence rocked pretty hard. It’s really obvious he doesn’t trust in me and my ability to lead. I can’t blame him. I was just a scared passenger for over a decade. My confidence levels are only just starting to rise and I’m not solid enough in my skills to tackle his antics when he starts blocking me out due to whatever is setting him off.
I talked to P about it and she said that for now I shouldn’t ride him outside the arena because it wasn’t worth the backwards progress. I totally agree with her. I find it funny that I feel safer on a baby horse than on an old man horse. I’m sure it’s because Ben and I have a history of bad experiences and Aria is a clean slate.
In addition to working on keeping my back straight I’ve also been trying to work on my seat. I tend to use my hands to get the bulk of my work done and my natural reaction is to use my reins. I’ve been trying to stay aware of it because it’s not really proper riding. Things like focusing on engaging my seat more to get deeper corners and upward/downward transitions. I spent my lesson yesterday weaving cones just using my seat (at least I hope I was using my seat and not subconsciously using my hands!). I am definitely more adept at it going left and seemed to have a harder time engaging my seat while going right. I’m right dominant, so maybe someone can tell me if this is normal or unusual.
Admittedly, I kind of feel my issue is the saddle. I don’t want to try and make an excuse for my crappy riding but I think it’s exacerbating an existing problem. As I’ve said before it’s really not comfortable, although I’ve grown used to it, and it seems to always slide to the left on me. Which might be from uneven stirrups. I’ve tried changing stirrup length and putting more weight in my right leg to see if I would get a more even ride but I got no love. My left leg and knee usually hurt after the ride too. Ultimately I think the saddle and I are just not compatible. P rides in it fine, so either she has uneven legs or I have uneven legs. Lol
Have any of you experienced this problem, where you know that your skills might not be great but the equipment you’re using isn’t doing any favors either?