Monday, 12 January 2009

Lesson 04.01.09

Well, its took me a while to write up!! We did quite a bit of new stuff and not being able to ride since the lesson until this weekend has made it difficult to crystallise my thoughts!! I ended up asking my long-suffering instructor Mike for clarification lol!! (poor Mike!!) And as his descriptions are so more lucid than my own I have stolen them Mwaaaa haaa haaaaa!!!!

Quoted from Mike Aylmore:

We worked initially on shoulder in, 10m circle, then continue in travers. This works well as the shoulder in gives a natural position to move onto the circle and you are also in a perfect position for travers as you return to the track. The shoulder in and travers have the same bend but you are right, they engage different hind legs. I always find this makes it harder to move from one to the other without a circle in between, it just doesn't seem to flow. When we were changing between exercises on the long side we would have gone from shoulder in to renvers and counter shoulder in to travers. In lateral work, the general rule is that the hind leg that steps in front of the other is the one that is being engaged. So, on the right rein for example, shoulder in is engaging the right hind. If you change the bend, then you are in renvers position, still engaging the right hind. Likewise, counter shoulder in on the right rein (essentialy shoulder in left!) engages the left hind. Change the bend to travers position on this rein and you are still engaging the left hind. This is why I like to combine the exercises in this way. As you move from one to the other you aren't changing the hind leg that is engaging, just changing the bend. The exercises just seem to flow better. It is particularly useful for Antsje as you are stretching one side, then changing the bend and stretching the other while engaging the same hind leg. For a horse that finds it hard to reach for the contact, being able to encourage the stretch down one side, then the other, will be very useful. The other reason I want you to become familiar with the exercises is so that you find it easier to correct her when she twists in the trot work. As she finds the work harder to the right, she will probably carry her quarters to the left i.e. a natural renvers position on the right rein and travers position on the left rein. To help correct this you need to ride her in an "opposing" position. i.e. "think" travers on the right rein, and renvers on the left rein. Obviously you can only do this if you are familiar with the full range of straightening exercises. In this way, every time you feel her twist and warp and lose the connection to the contact, you can quickly apply a combination of corrections to counter-act the warp!

My thoughts!!!

Well, this was a hard lesson for me and Antsje – neither of us having done Travers or Renvers before!! It was like the blind leading the blind lol!! In actual fact I had been playing a little with travers coming out of the circle, but not having ridden the exercise before I haven’t done too much for fear I was doing it all wrong!! At times I knew I was doing more a leg yield t the wall, rather than travers DOH!!! But it seemed I was not too far away in what I was doing which helped my confidence J Antsje is familiar with moving laterally in the opposite direction to the bend as in leg yield and SI but is not quite ssure WHAT to do with her feet when asked to move laterally into the same direction of the bend as with travers and renvers!! Looking at the video it was quite amusing to see her hovering with her feet really * thinking * where to put them. She does try hard though, and like me, once she UNDERSTANDS the concept she will try her best to do what is asked J She wass getting a little ‘sticky’ at times with the movements but Im sure this will improve with her understanding and physical strength. As for me! Well, I can see I need to be far more helpful to Antsje – but again, difficult when Im learning too L Things I SHOULD be doing is keeping a better position with my seat for one. I am trying TOO HARD and it is affecting my position to the detriment GRRRRRR!!! I have to think more about a relaxed longer leg, as I am gripping up with the effort lol!! I also have to stop holding my leg away from her body for example in the travers, I am pushing with the outside leg and holding my inside leg away from her body instead of wrapping it around. I also have to learn that the energy is produced by the inside leg and the outside leg just ‘holds’ the ¼’s in position, as at the moment Im trying to push her over with the outside leg and I feel this is one of the reasons we are getting ‘sticky’ and loosing forwards.
Mike stressed to me that the exercise doesn’t HAVE to be perfect for it to have the required effect! Do you think he could tell I was trying too hard hehehe!! It was interesting watching the video how after straightening back up after the exercise how Antsje stretched into the outside rein. It is here where I need to be quicker with my reactions and allow her to come through and use the energy created by the lateral movement. I could see I was blocking this at times. *sigh * It was also encouraging to see how the trot improved when asked for directly after straightening after travers! Although my trot was horrendous as by that time my legs had gone numb lol!! I thought the activity in the hocks was much better.

So things for me to bear in mind:

· Horse and rider have to be relaxed for their bodies to function efficiently! STOP trying and let it happen! :rolls eys:
· Think stretched relaxed calf to deepen the leg & seat rather than heel down – this seems to help me stretch rather than force! STOP Trying and let it happen!!
· Keep hands, elbows and shoulder soft – STOP trying blah blah blah!!! :rolls eyes:
· Be quicker with my reactions to be able to help Antsje and get more benefit from the exercise ie, don’t BLOCK by being rigid…STOP trying blah blah blah…………
· Hips to the inside (of the school) for shoulder in and renver – hips to the outside for travers and counter shoulder in.
· Inside leg (of the bend) for bend and impulsion – outside leg for positioning.

Is there a running theme here lol!!!

So for the video:
Please note that this is just the BEGINNING – it is NOT the finished product in any shape or form * blush * I realise my riding needs improvement, particularly with relaxing my seat (but HECK it was COLD!!) but sadly I am out of practice L Also my hands are to rigid, for same reasons! So please keep your comments constructive and help retain the fragile bit of positivity I am desperately holding on to!!

SI – Circle - Travers

Travers on the right rein!

Travers showing the stretch into the rein when straightening

Trot after travers

EDIT - added links as I failed to embed the video Grrrrrr!!!


kelly said...

oh bless her she is trying so hard i love the one were she hovers her back leg trying so hard for you bless!

sounds like a fab lesson look forward to the next lot of vids!

trudi said...

Vicky, great lesson then! I think Mike is right and you can only make them straighter when you have everything in your tool box so to speak.
Please stop beating yourself up tho' because I thought you did brilliantly considering your lay off and the cold (I find it sooo hard to relax in the cold).

A couple of points....
I thought your lower leg looked a little more forward than you usually have it and this may be because of how hard you were concentrating. I find it useful to use my knees and thighs when I ride lateral work (especially when teaching them to the horse)and then by weighting my stirrup underneath me it makes the seat/leg aids almost impossible for the horse to ignore.

The other thing when teaching it at first I'd be happy with one or two good steps and then walk away, it really is quite hard work at first. Also try going in on a leg yield along the track and then adjust the bend for travers and get one or two nice steps and then ride straight. By building it up slowly she will pick it up more quickly...less really is more, lol

Great work and remember..I had two years off, it does come back and better!!! Can't wait to hear more of your progress T x

ps don't forget renvers is only counter travers...always used to help me get my head round it.

epona said...

She does try hard!! She still isnt always sure what to do with her feet though lol!!
Trudi, I had noticed the same thing with the leg! Plus I seem to be sitting too far back in the saddle - i think my alignment is off! Partly as it was so cold - it was snowing at the end :-0 and partly cos I tense up when *I* try too hard lol!! And yes, I could see the points I should have 'stopped' and praised but didnt! It made me cringe in retrospect - but this is the trouble when we are both learning! I could be more helpful to her bless her!!
"ps don't forget renvers is only counter travers...always used to help me get my head round it."

Mike said this too, but it seemed to confuse me even more lol!! DOH!!

Jane said...


Haven't watched vids yet, but on the 'I need to ride better' front - I've started having lessons on a schoolmaster and working purely on ME. I'm spending the money I would on Magic lessons on it and then just doing cheap riding club lessons on him. So far so good. It does really improve your perspective to "think outside the box" ride something else and have someone focus on you entirely.

If you want info on where I'm going or want to come along and watch one of my sessions, just give me a shout.

Keep up the good work and don't beat yourself up when it doesn't happen first time! You and me are in such a similar position!!

lol J.xx

epona said...

hey Jane :-) You know what, the schoolmaster lessons sound WONDERFUL!! I can remember how much I got out of riding those horses in Portugal!!! I will email you about the details - is it fairly local? Im financially challenged at the moment BOOO!! But might be able to do something next month! Would it be cheaper to share a lesson - that might work! Of course, only if it suits you too lol!!!

trudi said...

It doesn't matter too much at the mo that you don't get the renvers being counter travers but the important bit is that A can improve both movements by just riding the travers and thus building up the strength for when Mum has got her head round the what goes where bit. Try walking it out in the house, just like learning a dressage test, that way you don't get on her nerves keep practicing on board.
On the legs/seat position, can you move instantly between weighting your pubic bone and your seat bones...I always find that gets me in the right position in the saddle.
Don't forget too, it's Wednesday..half way to the weekend :-)
T x