Operation: Learn To Ride

Ambers Echo

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So with Amber out of action this season, I have been trying to use the time constructively. So I have been having schoolmaster lessons at Ingestre. I said I wanted to go back to basics and would spend 6 months in walk if necessry to improve my seat! I am loving the lessons and really feeling the benefit. Plus I have had a couple of rider biomechanics lessons as I am so wonky. And have continued with Dressage Rider Training - doing the 2nd 12 week block now. I'm on a mission!!

Toby has been a great help in giving me as much saddle time as possible and I also school Dolly so I am getting to practice what I learn in the lessons.
I have felt really positive about it during Amber's lameness - feeling like I was still moving towards us getting back to eventing with a new and improved AE on her!! Just need her sound for next season and we will be away. Here's hoping.
 

Roxylola

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Oh that sounds fab. Ingestre is a bit far for me to go regularly, but I'm going to try and get over there a bit over winter. Rob often used to examine for us when I worked as an instructor and hes fab so I'm sure his staff will be great too. I've signed up for jo Titterton's 4 week course via Facebook so I'm cracking on with the pilates in the hope it will make some difference to my straightness etc. I think it's so easy to underestimate the impact fitness and flexibility etc has on us as riders especially if we are basically functional as we are.
 

oldie48

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That's a really good plan. DRT was just too much for me but I am sticking with my equipilates and am also going to do some rider biomechanics whilst I am a bit broken as a lot can be done in walk and I'm hoping it will improve my riding. I'm also, like you, one for turning disappointments/setbacks into opportunities. Life is too short not to do that.
 

Bernster

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Sounds like a constructive and positive approach! Be interested to hear how you get on.

Having been investigating some possible niggles with finnegan, I’ve decided to have a crack at some ground work with him and got a book recommended by wheels, to see if I can help his wonkiness. Im on the hunt for some form of fitness exercise for me that I will actually keep going with. Never found anything other than riding tbh and dont want something that takes up with would otherwise be riding time. A Friend has suggested skipping !
 

Sam_J

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I'd be interested to hear more about your lessons Ambers Echo. Now that I've got some weight off (still a bit more to go, though!) I'm going to be looking for somewhere to go to improve my confidence and also revisit some basics. Ingestre is on my list of places to investigate, along with Bold Heath, Cheshire Riding School and Eccleston. If/when ponio starts work again, I want to be in shape and a better rider than I am now.

If you feel like posting any lesson reports or any more details, I'd love to read them.
 

Ambers Echo

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I've been to Bold Health and Ingestre and Ingestre is far nicer. It's the most amazing place. Bold Health was a bit industrial whereas visiting Ingestre is like visting some amazing stately home.
More importantly, the horse I have been riding is beautifully schooled and the teaching has been great. I have ridden a couple of Bold Heath horses and they were far more your typical riding school plods. Apart from the nappy, spooky one!
 

Roxylola

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I worked at eccleston years ago, karen is brill. I'll likely take supercob up for some jump lessons over winter I think. Bold has some decent facilities, the big outdoor is fantastic. Both are a good bit more affordable than ingestre and I think both would agree they're in a different league really.
 

Sam_J

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I had the worst riding lesson of my entire life at Bold Heath!
Oooooookay, maybe I'll cross that one off my list! I did my PTT at Eccleston and my stage 2 at Ingestre (a long time ago!) and remember being impressed with them both but never been to Bold Heath other than to take daughter to compete there.
 

Ambers Echo

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It's hard to remember specific things from lessons so I plan to write them down here.

I sit to the right. So the horse falls in on the left rein. I correct with inside hand and inside leg when I need to use the outside aids. Soften the inside rein, sit straight, keep horse's neck more straight and turn with outside leg. That worked well but I am still not sure why sitting right makes the horse fall in? But it obviously does!

Lower leg needs to be more underneath me. Trot stood up a few strides then sit again focusing on keeping legs where they are - ie in balance.

I fiddle too much. Exercise - ride with a whip across wrists in w/t/c. If I fiddle the whip will fall off!

Stay more upright in downwards transitions. Focus on the horse coming up to walk and carrying you forward in walk. Not on dropping down from trot.

Keep core more stable, especially in canter.

That will keep me going till the next one!
 

HufflyPuffly

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It's hard to remember specific things from lessons so I plan to write them down here.

I sit to the right. So the horse falls in on the left rein. I correct with inside hand and inside leg when I need to use the outside aids. Soften the inside rein, sit straight, keep horse's neck more straight and turn with outside leg. That worked well but I am still not sure why sitting right makes the horse fall in? But it obviously does!

Lower leg needs to be more underneath me. Trot stood up a few strides then sit again focusing on keeping legs where they are - ie in balance.

I fiddle too much. Exercise - ride with a whip across wrists in w/t/c. If I fiddle the whip will fall off!

Stay more upright in downwards transitions. Focus on the horse coming up to walk and carrying you forward in walk. Not on dropping down from trot.

Keep core more stable, especially in canter.

That will keep me going till the next one!

I would imagine sitting to the right is driving your right seat bone down giving the seat aid to move left? It kinda makes sense in my head but I'm not sure how to explain it lol. Sounds some good things to work on though!
 

Ambers Echo

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Having spent a few weeks working on myself, I had a lesson on Toby today. He was much straighter, so hopefully that means I was!! In the clips of the lesson I still wince at how unstable my hands are though. Why is watching yourself riding so stressful!
 

Ambers Echo

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Another Ingestre lesson. Jumping this time.

Key points:
- Stay more upright on landing. Keep core engaged.
- I am now sitting to the left. I have over corrected :rolleyes:
- Keep riding after the last fence
- Think 'up'more than forward. Energy not speed.

But it was ok really. She said she would make things more challenging next time for me as today was just a simple grid. It was quite reassuring that when I am on a co-operative and experienced horse, I CAN actually ride. I feel like a total beginner on Toby sometimes.
 

Ambers Echo

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Arrrgghhh today really was an 'I can't ride' kind of a day. I had a lesson with a biomechanics instructor. I've had her before and she;s great but Toby was stupid-fresh. To be fair to him, I was at Norton Disney for the weekend. Then crazy busy at work all week so he has not been ridden since last Thursday. And my YO is in one of her periodic 'horses must stay in to protect the fields' phases. And he's just had a clip. And I was riding in the dark under lights with weird shadows and it was ffffrrrrrrrreezing. So all things considered, he behaved very well. But he was rushing and everytime I softened the hand he'd run faster and I'd pull more and he'd lean on me as I waterskiied around the arena. Sigh. Plus trying to 'weight the outside seatbone' as your horse is doing the wall of death round the arena in canter was fun. Not.

I know what I was meant to do: leg on, strong core, soft and forward hand. But it really was not happening for me today.

Note to self: don't waste £45 on a lesson and then fail to ride for a week beforehand!!!!

Onwards.
 

Ambers Echo

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Rather surprisingly, Ingestre lessons are ongoing! So now I'm sitting to the right again and horse is falling in to the left. :rolleyes:

Toby has a preference for going out of his right shoulder so I think he's training me to guard that shoulder with a stronger right leg which I'm doing by shifting right rather than by staying straight and just using the leg effectively.

I asked how I could tell what my body was doing when clearly I can't do it just by feel. She said if I was to the right my left leg was slightly clamped on to balance me which meant I could not use it effectively to keep the horse out on the circle. There was less weight in the left stirrup and my left toes were more turned in. So to correct, correct the feet and evenly weight the stirrups and that brings me straight again.

Hands were better. I moved more with the horse so balance overall was better. But my basic position still needs improving so next lesson will be on the lunge. Ouch!
 

ycbm

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Some things I do when I'm on my own to to check or correct correct sitting to the right.

Stand in the stirrups with little leg contact and get them balanced. Sit down and try and stay where I sat. This is a Chris Bartle tip, apparently.

Learn a hand position by the side of my bum that will, for example, put a finger tip in a known place on an edge or a seam and allow me to judge whether I've got exactly the same amount of hand on either side of my bum.
 

Skib

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A few comments. I too sit to the right. However it isnt something any rider does on purpose - in my case it arises from the degeneration in one's spine. Inevitable as one ages. One's right hip no longer opens properly and in my case our RI pointed out, it actualy hurts me if I put more weight on my left hip. It is human instinct to avoid the pain.
Even though I sit to the right I am well balanced on the horse but that is because my head tends to be held to the left (a weight, so compensatory).
It is something one needs to keep an eye on every time one rides and while one is riding (Is the saddle still central on the horse? are one's two knees equally placed on the saddle?) Riding Western and on a narrow shouldered horse, the slipping of the saddle is a great give away that one is sitting to the right.
It affects my balance on the left rein and I correct it by imagining and stretching an elastic thread running from my right shoulder to my left knee.
 

milliepops

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quick thought re toby training you.
I'd try to correct the running through the right shoulder not by using your right leg so much, as your right rein to straighten his shoulder.
it might help you stop contorting yourself if you can train him to accept the outside rein as a straightening aid correctly :)
 

teapot

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I'm wonky (to the the right) so I have spend a lot of my lessons looking left. It straightens me up.

Have you had a chiro or physio assessment? Worth knowing if there's a physical issue going on.
 

Ambers Echo

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Lunge lesson today at Ingestre. How hard is it just to SIT on a horse. I feel like I gain a lot from schoolmaster lessons but while I improve over 45 minutes , I then practice doing it wrong again for 3 weeks so not sure how to overcome that!

When I was an ultra runner I had a lot of pain. I tried loads of approaches to sort it out - exercises, osteo, physio, gait analysis. The feedback was always that the muscles that should stabilise were wobbly and so the muscles that should power movement were recruited to stabilise and then got sore. And I was especially stiff where I whould be flexible or wobbly where I should be stable on the left.The gait analysis pointed out that I even clench my left fist and arm shoulder whenever I run in an effort to stabilise! After being told that, I noticed it EVERY SINGLE TIME I ran but never stopped doing it. I could relax the fist/arm for a few minutes but as soon as I stopped focusing on it, it just automatically clenched and tensed again, grabbing onto an imaginary support to try and stabilise myself. Why I have no idea. It's not as if I fell over when I wasn't doing it!

My lunge lesson showed me that I balance on the left rein whichever rein I am on and when my reins got taken away I balance by hooking my left thigh. Again on both reins. When I focused on it, I stopped and my balance was fine so I have no idea why I do that but its the same story: something weird is going on with my left hand side! And I am using the wrong muscles and joints for stability.

So if anyone knows a brand of training/exercise etc that addresses that kind of problem I'd be very keen to hear about it as it is getting very, very annoying!!
 
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