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Monday, October 25, 2010

Riding with Kathy Connelly

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of riding with Kathy Connelly. It was stressful, as there were many auditors and I have never participated in a clinic with a green horse, ad to the fact that I am rusty in my riding abilities and you get a panicked Julie. Overall, I got some great feedback. My lesson on Saturday was good. It took Kathy about a second to pick up on my bad habits. I have developed bad habits with my hands and arms. It starts with the pinky on my left hand, then the rest of the hand opens up, then the wrist folds in and the elbow drifts further away from my body. Saturday Gram started a bit lazy and stiff. She was locking up a bit on the left, but we were able to work through it. Lots of transitions, and working on sitting in more to help her get off her shoulders. We worked on shoulder in and renvers (thanks to Ryan our Renvers is actually better than our shoulder-ins!)We finished our session with one of the things we struggle with Canter to Walk. Such a big mare, it is hard for her and I both to organize all the pieces to be able to site down instead of fall. She definitely focused on the amount that I baby Gram. It is so difficult for me, because I am so determined not to push her too much and to not make her sour. So unfortunately this means that I am too careful when it comes to pushing her and asking for more! Kathy kept saying things like, you are a timid rider, but you can push for more, she can take it. She really opened my eyes in the way that I deal with Gram. For example, I ask and if I get a little of what I want, I am thrilled. Instead of asking for more, I just enjoy that she is listening! I am so concerned about making a bad experience, I lost the going for broke attitude that I think got my on the NAYRC team! So it was a good wake up call.
Sunday, I felt like I got my behind handed to me... but this was exactly what I needed. I mean no one wants their faults pointed out in a public forum. But she really stayed on me, and I felt like I was riding better. Again the root cause is me taking it too easy... preparing too long, waiting too long to ask. All things that I can change, I just need the reminders. I need to continue focusing on my left hand and keeping everything in my "balance box". Elbows at my sides, pinky's in, maintaining the contact in my hands, sitting deeper in the canter, and asking for that next degree of collection.

I had an amazing time! Kathy told me a lot of the same things that Ryan tells me, but having her tell me hopefully will make it stick! I am so glad I was given the opportunity to ride with her, and I hope to continue my learning. I am going to watch my videos tonight and hope to pick up a few things that I am sure I have not written down. One thing I must do, is tie a ribbon to my left hand to remind myself to keep it closer to my body, and maintain the contact.

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