Much better day today, not so windy. Kip and I went riding down the lanes to the different pastures, and then out on the roads. (We’re not allowed to ride in the pastures themselves, and really the only option is the roads through the neighborhood.) All went well until we passed a house where an old guy was working in his garden, tossing something heavy into the dirt – slabs of slate, bags of something, I don’t know because Kip was on his hind legs swinging around in circles. I yelled “Could you PLEASE stop that for just a moment!” but he ignored me, either stone deaf or hoping that I would finally fall off. Grrr…
Some of the lanes on the farm are muddy and quite steep, but I feel much more secure now than I have been, more anchored in the saddle. I was trying some of the Centered Riding visualisations, such as “stubby legs,” but I haven’t been able to feel it. One that Mary Wanless uses, though, has been helping a great deal: rather than “bearing down” you sort of suck in your stomach and tighten your abdominal wall, at the same time “pushing your guts against it.” Sounds strange, but it works: the hip joints open, and the leg naturally wraps around the horse without pinching or gripping. Very nice, very secure.
When giving lessons, I’ve found that visualisations are very hit-and-miss. Some click with the individual person, others don’t. One visualisation that works almost universally is the “little birds” image that we are all very familiar with. (For non-riders: imagine holding a little bird in each hand, with it’s head poking out of the top of your partially-closed fist. You don’t want to squash the birds by holding them too tightly, nor do you want to hold them so loosely that they can fly away. You also hold your hands straight, so you don’t bump their little heads together. And that’s the way that you hold your reins.)
Well, enough. I was supposed to be using this long weekend to revamp my art portfolio, and I’ve done nothing on it yet. To work!