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Riding, Roman

[Riding] Learning Ladd

First of all... it was /cold/ today. Even after my ride, I was still cold. It is supposed to be the coldest night in 10 years. Something like 17 degrees F, which -- for Seattle -- is absurd. Needless to say, much checking of blankets and trying to plug up any cracks in the barns.

On top of that... I'm no longer on Banjo. (And thus I have a whole new letter to play with for alliterative titles!)

My newcomer classmate, who took a tumble off of Bayley last week, has been moved to Banjo. It's interesting to see someone else ride him; I can now see clearly the ways in which I first struggled. My classmate got frustrated by Banjo, which is something I remember myself from months and months ago!

Me, this week I was on Everclever, a.k.a. 'Ladd.' Ladd's a lovely TB, but usually ridden by more advanced riders. He's very, very sensitive: in that respect, he was really rewarding. When I asked him to go, he went. In comparison to Banjo (and, admittedly, my beloved Roman), Ladd was incredibly sensitive to cues.

This also tripped me up a few times. Ladd is much more slab-sided than tubby little Banjo is, and since I've worked so hard to get used to Banjo's barrel shape, I had trouble keeping my leg position right. This led to a few times when I accidentally cued Ladd to go faster than I expected. My former classmate rode Ladd a few times, and now I suddenly understand a few of the problems she had: Ladd's a great horse, but almost too responsive.

Once I sorted out my leg position a bit better, trotting Ladd was not really a problem. This was going to be a light lesson anyway, because a) it was really, really cold, b) both my classmate and I were on unfamiliar horses. So, no jumping.

I did, however, get a chance to canter Ladd. Hooooo boy. I've developed some very bad cantering habits on Banjo, apparently. The first time I cantered Ladd, I nearly fell off. Suddenly, I understood why my former classmate was afraid of cantering! I felt completely out of control of both the horse, and my seat. The second time, I was a little more prepared but still felt a bit uneasy and unbalanced.

We were coming to the end of the lesson, but still had a little time. I asked the instructor a few questions, and between us we hashed out that the bad habit that was tripping me up is that on Banjo, cantering does not require any side-to-side motion of the hips to remain seated. As such, I had not bothered with that. On Ladd, if you don't do it, you are going to be launched into the air eventually.

After discussing this, I gave one more try. I did not have the same degree of cantering control with Ladd that I did with Banjo, but I did manage to stay securely in the seat. (Which was an immense relief!)

Everyone got groomed, put away (with warm blankets), fed treats, and tucked in for the night. I also spoke to the aisle helper, since I had promised Banjo's owner that I would ensure he got the coat and hoof treatments she had me giving him, even if I wasn't riding him anymore.

I have no idea whether I'll be on Ladd next week, or on someone else. The instructor didn't know yet, but she feels it's time for me to move on from Banjo. So I guess we'll see!

Tired now. Zzzz.
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Comments

Wow, you're making progress. Learning to ride one horse is not that difficult, learning to ride _horses_ much more so - but you're well on your way!

As for the hip movement in canter - there is some, but it's not side-to-side, more like a backwards figure eight, but the trick is for the horse to take you, you don't initiate it.

Ladd sounds like a great horse!
As for the hip movement in canter - there is some, but it's not side-to-side, more like a backwards figure eight, but the trick is for the horse to take you, you don't initiate it.

That's a better description, yes. :)

My issue was that on Banjo, you didn't need /any/ side-to-side motion: cantering on Banjo, you could just kind of rock back and forth. (Whee!) So I had the forward-and-back part of the figure-eight just fine, but none of the side-to-side.