Tuesday 12 June 2018

Learning To Ride

Audrey Lesson 2. It feels like I'm learning to ride all over again.

It's interesting, this feels like a WAY bigger move up than I expected.  Bridget is a very big mover for being 14hh - she feels bigger to sit than some of the 16hh+ horses at the barn.  She's sassy too, and still prone to moments where she loses balance or makes random life choices under saddle. She's not easy. I work hard. Yet I never feel like I have any issues sitting any of it or riding her effectively. ( I'm not saying I ride her well, just saying I feel like I am able to get the job done :) )

Audrey, though. Oh my. I rode again last night and the feel of fail was very high. I'm aching in places I'm never sore in, and I feel less than effective a lot of the time. There are moments where it's all I can do to stay where I need to be in the saddle.
I suspect Sophie is going to feel like she's right in between the two of them under saddle, so this is good prep for the future!

She's very forgiving of my rookie mistakes, but there are buttons everywhere for me to inadvertently push (or not)!

Part of the issue is that I am doing SO MUCH when I'm riding Bridget. She's hard to keep balanced and together, she's constantly either on the forehand or sucking back and there's definitely a large workload for the rider to keep it all manageable.

Audrey, however, is like "Hey crazy lady?! I know how to canter! Please just let me do my job!"

It's so much fun to ride her. Even in two lessons, a lot of things are clicking for me and I definitely have a lot to work on and ideas to take back to Bridget.

- Straightness. I can feel when Bridget is straight, but Bridget's default is "Ughhh, pushing is so hard, now I will try to slow down and play the wiggly game" Audrey is like "Yay, straight! Hey, let's engage afterburners and cruise!" It's an instant reward for her, so I'm already feeling a lot more conscious of when I am using a bit too much leg on the circle (outside, normally) or rein (inside, of course), or getting sucked into the Wiggly Game. For Bridget, I understand better now how much better things would be if she would be reliably in front of the leg..and how even what I think is really forward on her, really isn't enough.

Bridget lives in the winter paddocks right now. It's been a few months so there's some grass starting to come in among the weeds that seem to take over our sacrifice areas that aren't being used. I feel mean, but it's a perfect compromise between limiting her intake and letting her have a bit of greenery to pick at. I'm going to break down and mow it all this weekend though - it looks so untidy and we don't actually want the weeds she won't eat going to seed.

-Jumping off my leg. B is a million times sharper than she's ever been, but I need even more.

-My fitness. Holy ab workout! Those big movers are no joke to sit! I need better cardio and better core strength.

-Canter off inside leg aid. DO NOT hold my outside leg back "just in case" in canter. I have no idea why I started doing that, but Audrey is like "You seem like you might want to ask for haunches in BUT WHY ARE YOU NOT ACTUALLY ASKING? I am moving my haunches because i think you might be thinking about it? You're very vague and annoying!"

She's such a good mare. There are large parts of our rides where I feel like I'm a bit "I don't know what I'm doing, Audrey take the wheel" and she's got it. I mean, she tells me how dumb I am first, but she's got it :)

I love Bridget dearly, but these lessons are also great for my mental game because Audrey tries her hardest to figure out what I want. Yes, she has some opinions about it, but she likes her job and she likes working. It's refreshing...I've been humoring a certain very grumpy coworker for a long time now and it's very easy to let that color my views of riding and how much work I need to put in to meet my goals.

Bridget: Please may I go over there in the field with everyone else?

I'm feeling very, very motivated to continue with my diet and fitness plan outside of the barn, and of course while my inner mean girl hates the riding fails, I'm loving feeling like the learning curve is very steep all over again and there is potential for big strides forward in my learning. I often feel a little stuck with Bridget as far as progress so it's pretty neat to have lessons again with some big breakthroughs and homework to think on.

I just re-read this before posting, and I'm not meaning for it to come across as down on Bridget. Her and Audrey are kind of apples and oranges as far as work ethic goes, and Bridget is who I spend most of my hours with and is my current comparison point to other horses. I do get a lot of amusement over her lazy, grumpy self and appreciate all the other wonderful things about Bridget very much!
Like how she stays round and shiny on the worst grazing ;)


  1. Its so great to hear lessons are going well! It must feel great to be riding a talented horse that knows things so you can really work on learning and improving yourself!

    1. It's kind of great/awful, because I'm getting better, but any confidence I had in my abilities has taken a big hit, lol

  2. What a great lesson! So different when you ride a horse and have to learn all their buttons.

    1. Makes me realize how stuck in our own patterns Bridget and I are

  3. It’s so awesome that you’ve got such a cool mare like Audrey to learn from! It sounds like such a different ride but like a great sandbox for getting those “aha!” Moments. Good luck with taking it all home to internalize!!

  4. It's so helpful (and very hard haha) to ride different types/feels of horses. It's awesome you're able to work in some lessons to keep learning :)

  5. Oh man, turning on the afterburners and cruising when straight sounds like one hell of a workout! Forget all the other stuff you listed afterward, my abs are still hiding in fear from just reading that sentence lol

    1. my abs were still sore when I got out of bed this morning, lol

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