This was the theme of my lesson today, on my handsome young steed who apparently decidedly does NOT appreciate my awkward riding being thrust upon him when he's used to being ridden impeccably by my trainer. Trainer bought Luke to eventually be his son's step up mount, the 'real horse' sort that he can 'do things' with. Luke is still relatively young and quite green in his training, he isn't really the school horse sort which for me is definitely new. I'm used to riding and schooling the horses at the therapeutic riding facility where I volunteer - they're amazing boys but not exactly big or particularly forward movers. Trainer, we'll call him B, is consistently shouting at me to RIDE and Make Things Happen.. This really is never an issue with the horses I've been used to riding, but I know if I want to step up into the next level of my equestrian education I need to start riding horses that are of the 'real sort' that can 'do things'. I think B has the same idea he has for me as he has his son.
Anyway, I've been struggling with Luke because when I have a horse pin his ears at me or get nappy in response to the leg I think ohhh maybe he's not feeling well, ulcers?, maybe he's a little off? (or maybe I think uh oh I don't want him to start bucking - self preservation and the good ole' sympathetic nervous system definitely kick into gear).. regardless, I've been working really hard in my last few lessons to ignore the little bounces and attitude, sit up and ride forward. It's definitely getting better, but I know I'm not there yet because our canter work is consistently filled with... shall we say expression. Just about every time I ask for canter, Luke bucks. This is not a good cycle, I get tipped forward, I tighten with my knees, this makes him mad (understandably, I know), he bucks more. He's not the sort to tolerate bad riding in this stage of his life, I guess it's actually a good thing for me (trainer certainly thinks so) because it's a pretty good barometer for my equitation. Luckily Luke's bucks are the sittable sort and he isn't really a malicious horse, just a HEY what are you doing up there stop getting in my way sort. Which I suppose I can appreciate. Sucks to suck, as we say in med school.
Pinch me with your legs one more time, lady...
This is the horse B thinks I'll be making my showing debut with this spring. We're going to be doing a training level test, too... I'm a dressage newbie, but I'm pretty sure that test involves a canter. Hmmm, well when he's 'expressing' in the canter he certainly has an active hind end, maybe that will save us a point or two.