I had a lesson early Sunday morning with my trainer. It started out a little rough, but we ended on a very positive note. For the first part of the lesson we were jumping crossrails at the trot but I was oversteering and causing Baron to get a bad approach and lose his balance. I would pull too hard to one side (causing him to zig) and then pull to hard to the other side to try and correct it (causing him to zag). He stumbled over the crossrail because his approach was so wonky, so Mary had me trot around the rail in 2 point and concentrate on how much rein and leg it took to move him. Once I figured out that it took very little leg and rein to move him, things started coming together.
One thing I love about Baron is how responsive he is. He likes to work and he likes to learn new things. I find that he is looking to me for direction and it doesn’t take much to guide him. I could squeeze my fingers on the reins on one side and move him over. Once I figured out the right amount of pressure to use, the rest of the lesson was fantastic. We worked for a solid 40 minutes, mostly trotting with some walk breaks, and I was in 2 point just about the entire time. My lower leg was still and I felt balanced and solid. It was a great feeling, like “YES! This is what it feels like when I’m doing it right!”
Another thing I learned was that I had been working way too hard over the crossrails. I was anticipating the little hop and leaning forward. This was throwing my weight forward and making it harder for Baron to jump. I figured out that all I have to do is let my hands move forward as his neck does and my seat and leg naturally follow the motion. There’s no need to throw myself forward. When I quit trying so hard, I found that I kept my balance on the landing as well. My leg was solid and I could go back to 2 point or a posting trot without a lot of fuss. This was another “Aha moment” for me.
Overall I was really pleased. I can tell that my P90X workouts are paying off. I was able to stay in 2 point for much longer than I could before. I have a long way to go before the correct leg position is second nature, but at least I can feel the difference between doing it wrong and doing it right. Now I just have to log more hours in the saddle until someday I have the muscle memory of a still, solid, correct lower leg!