Val and I got another ride in on Sunday. We worked for well over an hour, until both of us were good and sweaty. Lots of trotting - 15m circles and figure eights. Transitions and staying forward were my main focus. The upwards transitions are coming right along, although I'd like to continue to get lighter with my aides. We achieved some nice halt to trots. Also - contact is becoming more consistent with each ride. Val has many a foamy mouth lately. (loving it!!)
I also wanted to address getting prompt responses and more smoothness on the downward transitions. I 'filled my sail', corresponding to tightening my core and resting in the saddle, but also closing my legs and asking for some energy at the same time. Transitions always help Val to focus - I need to remember to work on them more often - especially if he comes to the arena distracted.
The rest of the ride I worked on posting and in two point. I'm continuing to improve my posting - my ankles are gaining flexibility. The best indicator is my horse. He blows, snorts, seeks contact and generally seems to be enjoying himself. Poor guy - he's had to wait far too long. Now I need to open the hips more so I get ears over hips over ankles...
So here's where I had a little epiphany. *eye roll* Sinking the weight down through my heels, which I (mistakenly) thought I was already doing, makes balancing in two point a piece of cake. Really, you say?! Yes indeedy :)
Apparently, I've been bracing my ankles by jamming them down in the stirrups, thereby putting the weight on the ball of my foot, (and driving my lower leg too far forward in two point). Analogous to pulling a horse's head back into a fake frame. It may look on the surface like the proper posture, but it's actually produces the opposite of correct mechanics.
Hel-lo! How many times did my poor trainer have to remind me I wonder. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm a visual / experiential learner, and decidedly not aural... :)
Who knew that hay can be more dangerous than horses? I had another hay related accident. This time I fell between my tail gate and the doorway to my hay shed. Well, one leg fell between. The rest of me fell on the truck, doorway and under the bale of hay I was slinging when I slipped on some loose hay. My one leg smashed on the towing ball. I immediately felt sick to my stomach - said some bad words, and silently thought how much it would suck if I couldn't ride. Not if I couldn't work, pay my bills, drive or dress myself mind you... The knee is as big as a grapefruit but nothing is damaged on the inside that I can tell. Ibuprofren is my friend.
Oh yeah - this is my 200th post :)