Today was our follow-up ride after last week's lesson. Did I mention that those are few and far between around here? I love watching videos from other rider's lessons, especially if I can hear the commentary from the instructor. The more detailed the better, as I start to sort of feel what it is like on the horse in the lesson. I nearly always learn something that I can take home to Harley. If you have a good (overactive) imagination, vicarious learning can become real learning! But today, I had my own lesson with which to digest and experiment.
We had some company in the ring, so I did not let Harley go willy-nilly around the ring this time, but I did my very best to melt my seat. I did not practice the standing exercises from the lessons, because I was pressed for time. There I go cutting corners already! Oh well, at least I made a point to really feel my seat in the saddle. My entire seat. From the front all the way to the back. My seat felt like a platform, seriously flat and stable. I tried to concentrate on this feeling no matter what we were doing: walking, trotting, transitioning, turning. I practiced some sitting trot and tried to keep my seat melted as we transitioned to walk. I could feel myself wanting to lean back, but I resisted the temptation. I actually had a little trouble explaining to Harley that I wanted him to walk. He slowed his trot more and more until he was almost trotting in place. It was like really, really awesome. Then I sent him forward and asked him to repeat the tiny, collected trot. This worked well going to the right, but he transitioned to canter when I attempted the same thing on the left. That usually means that he was shifting his weight back. He was either not quite able to collect his trot that much going left or he just wanted to canter and thought that would be easier. Going forward is never a bad thing, so I just rode the canter and continued to focus on my seat as a wide platform. His canter was quite straight for the left lead and balanced. The downward transitions to sitting trot were easy. Cool beans.
I made a new discovery. I have a much easier time keeping my seat melted when I am looking ahead of our path of travel. I am guilty of staring at Harley's beautiful neck and mane. I know that I should not be looking down, but he is so pretty. I do not get to see him all the time, so when we are together I just want to look at him constantly. I wonder what it is like to be adored that way? He seems to handle it well.
So if I can convince myself to look ahead, my focus softens and so does my seat. Harley's balance reaches new heights and I can keep my legs where they should be and my upper body over my feet. Coincidence? I think not. Now if I can just keep it (my eyes) up!