Newstead Abbey in the sunshine
And onto the riding... I had my first lesson with my new trainer on Saturday and it went well, although I have mixed feelings about it. I really liked the trainer, she was very nice and supportive, however I feel like the worst rider in the world, as I had so many faults picked with my position (which I thought was quite good). I guess this will always happen with new trainers though, especially after a long break from lessons as each trainer has their own methods and the break from riding has let bad habits creep in (turning my thumbs in to the centre - I was annoying myself with this eventually!). The lessons can only improve my position though, so this must be a good point. On another positive just one lesson did really improve my confidence, and this is really what I wanted to achieve. After correcting the minor faults with my position my trainer then put my stirrups up 3 holes, to help secure my seat. As a dressage rider I found this really strange and it took me most of the lesson to get used to it. For the lesson we just worked on Diesel's walk, encouraging him to walk forward and work through his back more, and to respond more sharply from the leg aids. I was told at this point I am too quiet as a rider, and need to put a bit more force into applying my aids, so I am going to work on this until my next lesson. In the second part of the lesson we worked on keeping Diesel straight on the right rein as he tends to fall in and bend to the outside, after 5 minutes there was a definate improvement in straightness. Before my next lesson I am going to work on getting Diesel more responsive from the leg, and using firmer aids.
I rode this morning in the indoor, for about 20 minutes. Although I had intended to work on a figure-of-eight in trot today, I ended up staying in walk. I worked on getting Diesel moving from the leg by performing a walk to halt to walk at each letter of the arena and being firmer with my aids. Although this confused Diesel a little to start with and resulted in him moving forward to trot, he quickly got the idea and started moving into walk more quickly, producing a more energetic walk. I also worked on some 10metre circles in walk on both reins to continue working on balance and straightness. He was working much straighter on both reins and maintaining his straightness through the circles. After about 15 minutes Diesel spooked at the barn door and decided to try and throw me off, he sidestepped and took off across the indoor throwing in a couple of bucks. This time I managed to sit tight, which is a definate improvement for me. I am certainly feeling more confident as I didn't dismount but continued to work Diesel and rode him back past the barn door several times despite his protests. I was very pleased with myself for this! On a final note, I found that my ankle was really painful today after my ride which I think is due to the short stirrups, even though I think they did contribute to my not falling off today, so I think I shall put them down one hole until my ankle stops hurting.
I have booked the indoor again tomorrow and friday morning so I will get some more riding done.