as winter draws in, I’ve decided to move my lessons to weekly and only hack maybe once a month. We’re lucky at our riding school that we have an indoor school so are able to have good non weather interrupted lessons throughout winter.
This morning I headed up, excited to be reunited with my super little pony friend, Ethan. But alas, he was heading out on a ride instead so my RI announced I’d be riding Harry. Harry in the school? I thought to myself, always up for a challenge but not sure what I’d get in a lesson with my faithful hacking pony. We’ve got a good relationship out on a hack now but in all fairness, I was expecting a super tough, frustrating lesson on this guy. Harry’s the type of horse who can be super steady and calm with novices but he can move when he knows his rider is giving the right signals. He’s taught me so much on our hacks in the past few months, and I truly have a deep affection for him so I was kind of intrigued to see how our lesson would pan out.
Straight away, once mounted, I knew I had a Harry under me who was probably thinking, what are we doing going into the school together? I made a pact with myself, to, no matter what, no matter what Harry threw at me, I would not shuffle, be a messy rider and I would keep my hands super still and legs neat and effective.
Instantly, Harry was trying to test my abilities. I could almost hear him say to me, “come on, show me what you’ve got?”
It took a few walk/halt/trot/walk/trot/halt transitions but slowly we woke up.
My rising trot was awful this lesson. It either rose too high and I lost my rhythm or I would start strong but not rise quickly enough for Harry. He likes his rising trot to control his pace and as soon as you get too slow, he stops. It’s hard to ride the first few times but once I had my attention drawn to it, it made perfect sense.
My RI asked for me to keep the trot rise rhythm for a whole circuit of the school. I managed to keep it going nicely then down the long side, I felt his head come up and I was astounded to feel we were in canter. All down the long side we flew, managed to go nicely around the corner and we stopped at A where we had started. I called over to my RI that I guess that’s not what she was looking for. She said no but it was really good and how sensitive was Harry to my seat? She was very complimentary of our canter. She said it was balanced, my position was spot on and if he felt like he’d go again, to allow him. It was definitely showing the rise was good for him enough to allow impulsion for him to go forward in a canter. I was beaming from ear to ear. I’ve never cantered in the school and out of all the horses I ride, Harry, bless his beautiful face, would have been the last horse I’d expect to do my first canter on in the school. But it felt absolutely incredible!
Off we went again in walk then we did a sloppy change of reign but it was not as bad as it could have been. We were doing our trots and my rising was getting weaker. I really need to be quick and in rhythm for Harry. But a few more times we got a few strides of canter.
He was super amazing and my position apparently all looked great. My RI was pleased that despite the struggle in the beginning, I didn’t fall into old bad habits and my hands were still, leg position was great I always kept my shoulders back. And that is definitely progress. but for me, today, i know I need to work more effectively on my rising trot but I need to not underestimate my partnership with super duper Mr Harry. Also, my seat apparently is far more effective than I’ve ever given it credit for.
Something that my rI and I agree on though, is that I’ve clicked quite well with a little Mr Ethan and although I’d be happy to have Harry in the school again, I’m pleased that my own feelings and observations have been confirmed about my relationship with Ethan. It’s nice to have two solid, different horses to learn from in the school to. I feel truly blessed. And yes, still beaming from ear to ear about our canters today. I thought it’d be months before I’d canter and I didn’t know how my RI would go forward to cantering but it seems neither of us will have to worry as Harry’s shown I at least can canter in the school.
Thanks for reading,