Today was very busy at Pineland Equestrian Center. There are tour buses that come to the arena twice a week as part of a bigger tour of this amazing Pineland Farm. The people file in and sit down and watch whatever happens to be going on in the arena. Michael often shares about the training while Gwyneth is usually riding a training horse. He explains what they are doing, why and how. He always talks about the feel they are working to develop in Rhythm with the horse and usually finishes with a piaffe or passage demonstration.
Pineland also sells horses and today a very nice woman from Boston came up to try two horses. That was very fun to watch how Michael and Gwyneth helped this rider quickly figure out and successfully ride each horse.
With the busy schedule, my lesson was scheduled with Gwyneth on LaWool again in the afternoon. Her approach is a 180 from Michael’s and equally as effective in a very different way. We started on getting the life up in LaWool while I maintained my position. (which is so inline with my 5 elements of communication which begin with GO, after you protect your space) Changing my position is proving to be a challenge for me while holding the reins! This AHA came at the very end of the lesson when Gwyneth ask me to cool down on the buckle. As he wanted to stop I simply asked him on without thinking and she says, “why haven’t you been using your leg like that?! You sit and ride better without reins! I can see where you spend most of your time in the saddle.” And thus, that is why I am here! To learn to connect thru the bridle and the double bridle to get a feel not only in my hands but through my entire body. I believe I have always know I was a klutz with the reins and maybe my bridle-less riding has just been an avoidance of what’s been hard for me! (or it could be that bridle-less riding is just plain fun for me and my horse!)
So today’s theory was Rhythm, Relaxation and Connection with contact. This is a cycle of these three things that constantly need to be visited and revisited as I ride. “Get the horse into the rhythm, but don’t tense thru your body. Ask him to relax and supple into the contact, but DON’T lose the rhythm! You set the rhythm rate, more life in LaWool. Don’t loose that contact. Bend your elbows (which I heard a hundred times and as I look at the pics and video it is painfully obvious) and feel through your biceps and shoulders.” You get the idea. All of it was very helpful but took constant in the moment reminding to help me do!
My aha’s for today:
- Learning is way more exhausting than teaching!
- Breathing helps find the rhythm and so does relaxing.
- Somethings are easier on the second day, somethings are harder!
- There is no shortcut for experience.
- Not to judge myself for where I am on the learning curve. Everyone is somewhere.
- Rhythm, Relaxation and Contact need each other.
- Don’t let self-judgement creep in while learning! It’s not helpful!