As I’ve said, I’ve started riding Kona more consistently this fall. Things are much improved, I’m happy to say! Our trot has slowed and he’s putting his head down. If I really use my seat he will frame up quite nicely on a loose rein. He’s started using a curb bit like a big boy and coming along pretty well with the neck-reining.
Our last endeavor to conquer is the lope. He’s a little quick for my liking and I’m still not comfortable in it. After we go around the arena a couple times it slows down and ends up feeling nice, but the start is, well, a train wreck. Last month I could not get him to pick up his left lead so I enlisted Catie’s help. She coaxed him to finally pick it up, but only after he kicked up his heels. Now, I’ve seen horses buck. Like, scary buck. This was nothing. In fact, she commented about his “kicking out,” and I had to point out that it wasn’t just a kick, but a buck. Simply put, it was no big deal. We had the chiropractor adjust him shortly after and sure enough, he was out in his hind end. He picked it up without a problem after that. Well, even though I know in my head that he’s not going to buck me off, ever since then I’ve been nervous to pick up the lope. So our rides have been going a little like this: we calmly get warmed up, head down, nice and slow and then I muster the nerve to lope. As Catie taught him, I try to use my legs to “lift” him into the lope. Except that he doesn’t. So I’m squeezing, squeezing, squeezing. He’s trotting faster, faster, faster. Finally he throws me a bone and we egg-beater our way into the lope. It’s awful.
Yesterday Catie gave me a lesson so we could specifically work on our lope departure. I demonstrated our little, uh, problem. She commented that I’m hunching over, leaning forward, BEGGING him to lope. Yikes. This is true though, which is why I love to have her yell all this truth at me from the ground. Sometimes you need that check, you know? She yelled, “We’re not BEGGARS, we’re TELLERS!” That has really stuck with me. She got on Kona after me, and he of course promptly picked it up. No egg-beater.
This picture makes me laugh every time, and reminds me of how she yells at me from across the arena!
“You’re not even using spurs,” I sulked.
“I don’t need to, and neither do you,” she replied.
Fair enough. So, we made a plan to take off my spurs for my next ride. Apparently, I’m using my spurs as a crutch. If I don’t use my whole leg effectively, get down to the basics, then he’s never going to promptly pick up the lope. I have to WANT it. Trust him more. If he throws a little buck in resistance, I better cowgirl up! Because, I’m a TELLER.
I’ll update ya, after our spur-less ride.