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Riding, Roman

[Riding] Banjo Behaving Better

Look! Posting on time!

Back on Banjo this week; it's also my first week with a new classmate. He's a newcomer to riding, so it's suddenly weird to not be the 'beginner' in the class. To see what I must've been like when I started more than a year ago.

Banjo and I visibly held a 'conversation' in the aisle while I was tacking him up, which had a student who had just finished her ride laughing.

I was going to put the girth on, and Banjo did the 'ooh, it's too tight, oh, it HURTS' expression and twitch. I stood there and looked at him dubiously. Banjo noticed, paused, looked at me, and turned to look further back, at my hand. My hand which was still holding the completely-unfastened girth. The realization of 'oh, that would've been more convincing if I waited' was clear in his expression, and then he hung his head in a sort of 'oops, okay, you caught me' way. I stuck my tongue out at him and then put the girth on.

Brooke was also riding this week, so she and I headed out while my new classmate had his tacking up and grooming checked over. When we got out into the ring, I got onto Banjo and started riding a bit of warm-up. I've spent the past week working on my posture during the work-day -- taking breaks from my computer-work when things are compiling to practice my back and shoulder posture -- and the instructor did mention that she could see a difference.

My new classmate, however, took a tumble off his horse less than a minute after getting on. So the instructor had to demonstrate a few things, and then get him back on the horse. I spent this time free-riding... trotting laps, serpentines, and doing two-point. (I am going to regret some of the two-point tomorrow!)

Unfortunately, most of the lesson got dragged out a bit because of the disparity... I suddenly realize what it must've been like to have /me/ in lessons when I was just starting. Partway through, the instructor pulled me over and had me move the stirrups up a notch from the 'proper' position, on the theory that since Banjo's a short horse and I've got comparitively long legs. The hope was that I'd be able to keep better contact with Banjo when my heels were down; as it was, with my heels down, I was a bit *below* Banjo's sides. It /did/ make a dramatic difference, and Banjo started following my cues much better.

A bit more trotting courses; Brooke and I were trusted to just sort of stay out of the newcomer's way. With Banjo responding better, I was able to nip his 'ooh, another horse, let's go over there!' behavior in the bud. It was actually a reasonably rewarding ride for that alone.

Towards the end, she had the new rider come into the center, and let Brooke and I canter. And we cantered quite a bit; both of us were sore and a little winded at the end. Banjo only started on the wrong lead in his stiff direction once, and I corrected that, though he kept trying to slow down ('there's a horse in the center! Can't I go in there? Pleeeease?') which forced me to keep pressure on. WHEW! Good exercise.

Grooming went smoothly, cleaned the tack, gave treats to the usual suspects. In all, a rewarding week. And I'm thinking more and more seriously about shuffling my schedule so as to ride a second time each week...


What's two point?
Normal riding is 'three-point,' as you have three points of contact. When you trot, you can 'post' the trot (which means you come up out of three-point seat along with the horse's gait).

Two-point, however, you hold yourself up out of the saddle continuously, though you still have to move with the horse's gait. Two-point requires you to hold yourself up with muscles you do not use for anything else (except a few for endurance bicycling), so it can be a bit of work. :)
Sounds like it'd be a bit easier on your butt. :-)
Easier on the butt. Much, much MUCH harder on the thighs. :)
Now there's a tough choice to make!