I’m really behind on blogging. I’ve just been… I don’t know. Low on time? Low on energy? Low on motivation? Either way, the blog has been pushed to the side. Not that much has happened.
A couple of weeks ago, Nay and I had our first lesson back. It was fine. Nay was an angel. He was good. Really good. The lesson itself wasn’t all that exciting. We’re taking it slow. But, we spent a lot of time working on me and let’s be honest, that part isn’t fun.
You see, I have bad habits. Lots of them. But one of my worst ones is my heels. For most people, their issue relating to heels is that they don’t put their heels down. My issue? I jam my heels down. So, we’re working on NOT putting my heels down and relaxing my heels and bringing flexibility to my heels. All those years of trainers telling me to PUT MY HEELS DOWN has backfired. My default position is to lock my heels down. This is bad. It gives me security that I crave, but certain horses hate it. Nay does a good job of ignoring it, but he’s 100% quieter when I relax my heel… Oy. So heels up folks. Which ideally gets my heel relaxed vs jammed down?
My other issue? My hands. I often ride with equitation hands. If I was riding in an eq class, my hands would be fine. Actually perfect. But, I’m not. I need to lower my hands and focus on almost pressing them against Nay’s neck to get used to keeping them LOW. These things are hard! I also have short arms which make things harder. I may need to adjust Nay’s pad to help, but I’m not there yet.
Final issue? I sit off to one side. To the left. I have issues leaning left. My left leg cramps up and I twist my left calf. I adjusted the shimming of Nay’s pad since he’s way more even now and I HOPE that helps me sit more even, but more on this…
After our lesson, we rode a couple of time and then took some time off. I just wasn’t feeling it and Nay had a loose shoe. Farrier came out Saturday and Nay had his best shoeing yet (he’s been a little…poorly behaving for the farrier in the past but has been much better to angel like the last 2 times). All of this brings us to Sunday’s ride.
It was warm and lovely. I start with a nice 10-15 minute walk without stirrups but once I pick up the stirrups, I feel tight. So, I ended up lengthening a hole. They still feel short, but this felt better. I might go down another half hole, but for now, the longer length definitely helped me not jam my heels down. We had a lovely time trotting on a long rein (we just did figure 8s). And then the canter? I’ve had this issue where the left leg really causes issues. I either jam my heel/leg or I push/pump to keep the canter. So I ended up picking up a crop to help keep the canter. Honestly? Nay is SO RELAXED right now that I don’t want to start kicking and the crop definitely seemed to help me keep the canter (I had to tap…) without stressing him out. We were able to canter longer without losing the relaxed feel or lengthening his stride.
We ended with a couple of jumps. The first fence he really wanted to canter. The second time he barely held a trot. The third time (we attempted a line), we trotted both and called it a day. He was tired but thrilled to jump. It didn’t have to be perfect, but we did some stuff.
At the end of the day, we had fun and stayed relaxed.