Figure Eights

My lesson went great tonight! It may have been my imagination, but I swear that when I came into the arena, Misty stopped and stared at me (much to the annoyance of the poor girl in the lesson before me!). She stood nicely for me as I set my stirrups and lead her to the mounting block. The warmup was relatively uneventful, with her moving quite nicely. We even did a nice quarter turn on the haunches at the wall. The exercise focused on figure eights in all gaits.

Figure Eight Walking 

Do a circle in each direction at the walk. Focus on being straight in the middle, then bending to the new inside leg and outside rein. Practice flexing in for a couple steps, then straight, then out for a couple steps. I only did this a couple times before progressing to the trot, but it really showed me how hard I need to work on keeping a marching rhythm while bending.

Figure Eight Trotting

Do a circle in each direction at the trot. Focus on getting your horse round. Bend to the inside, then straight through the middle of your eight, then bend to the new inside. Keep the rhythm, don’t let her slow down. I also need to learn to ask for a little more. If she can trot around with her nose in the dirt, then she’s stretched out and ready to come up into a frame. Don’t let her be lazy, keep asking until I get a response.

Figure Eight Canter

I haven’t worked on flying changes yet, so we did a circle in the canter, followed by a step or two of trot in the straight centre, then right back up to canter in the other direction. This was such a fun exercise! I got her cantering, did a circle, then started my pattern. The first few were messy. We didn’t worry about her frame, just about the steering and the transitions. She was happy to pick up the right lead, but struggled on each left lead. I had to fight for a few steps to make it happen. Going back to the right lead though, I had a couple amazing transitions where we trotted for one step that straight back up to a beautiful canter. I tightened my core, softened my hands and elbows, and really felt connected to her for a few perfect moments. I felt like even though I was sitting, I wasn’t a burden on her back, because I was still carrying myself. Misty had some great movements and transitions. I do have to focus on keeping my shoulders square and my hips centered. I have a tendency to lean into turns and drop my hip, which can cause her to lose balance. I can’t wait to try this exercise again!

Friday, February 28th, 2014 Exercises, Lessons

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