Wow. Haven’t had the chance to write this in a long time, then lost interest. But then, some inspiration struck and I got over the writer’s block. Yay to that!
Anyhow, over the last couple of lessons I realized how much of importance sitting still is during riding. And I thought I’d share my experience here, as it would make a perfect Horse & Rider Weekly post.
So anyhow, for quite an age, whenever I tried to get Jonty to canter, he wouldn’t; only after a lifetime of kicking him half to death (ouch, don’t judge me, I was and am still learning), and finally he’d leap into a canter. I only learnt the reason for that in my last couple of lessons: I can never sit still. What exactly does that mean, you may ask. Well, I never stopped fidgeting with my reins, I never sat, yes, I actually never sat. I kept on rising, and my hands kept on giving the horse ten different cues at the same time. And the main focus of last week’s lesson WAS indeed to sit still. And I’ll share with you how tremendously it helped.
So the first step to sitting still and calm is: STOP GETTING NERVOUS!! And that’s exactly what happens with me. I don’t know why; sometimes I don’t even feel it, but the second my instructor says “okay, so the next round we’re gonna canter,” and I get nervous. I shorten my reins too much, tense up my body, and actually hold my breath in until we start cantering. I ease off a bit when we start cantering, but not completely. And that’s when Jonty gets nervous too; he has no idea what to expect from the rider. Jonty basically panics, and starts doing his own thing, which in turn panics me even more.
Fast forward fifteen minutes, and we’re still nowhere, just trying to sit still. So finally I managed to relax myself. And when that happens, everything just comes naturally. Basically, you just relax and think what you want to do next, and suddenly everything just comes in. I actually loosened my reins, sat, and stopped kicking Jonty half to death. And there we had it, a smooth, relaxed transition. And because I stayed relaxed, Jonty was relaxed and everything went well.
That’s how sitting still helps tremendously. From fifteen minutes of flapping around on the saddle, kicking Jonty half to death, and nearly ripping his mouth apart, to a smooth, relaxed, and enjoyable ride. So there you have it, do the right thing. Just relax. Relax, and everything comes naturally.
Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if anything else helps you achieve what you want when riding. Also let me know what should I write about next!
With that, see you all next time!