Santa brought me exactly what I asked for this Christmas – a quality camcorder. The cheap one that I bought last year crapped out in the summer and would only take blurry video. My plan is to take a few videos a month so I get the chance to see what I am feeling underneath me. My goal is to improve my body posture and position in the saddle, being able to see what I look like should help with that.
I had a really good lesson with Sarah yesterday. We worked over raised poles which is something we did all the time when we rode with Penny. Walking the horses through a line of raised poles causes them to bend their hocks and walk a straight line as they pick their ways through the poles. Penny used to start all her babies by lunging them over a set up big heavy poles. Her horses always knew where their feet were and seemed very connected to the ground. Grace was started this way and it is something that I come back to often on the lung line but not often enough under saddle. During our lesson I was able to feel my tendency to stop riding in the poles. Sarah reminded me to keep my leg on my horse and to keep riding her after the poles. We had a big breakthrough at the lope when I finally let go of my inside rein which allowed me to be so much more effective with my outside rein. I also became aware of my head position which tends to be too far forward. I’m still figuring out how to fix it, bringing it back over my shoulders feels anything but natural.
Today I repeated the pole exercise at home and caught it on the new camcorder. While I was watching the film clips I was quick to tear myself apart. I saw the times that I dropped contact causing my horse to lift her head, and that while my upward transitions had improved my downward transitions were nonexistent. I could also tell the times that I tensed my lower back by the way my horse reacted. I have a lot of work to do, but then I noticed something else. At one point in the clip I walk Grace and change direction. Her walk is just that – a walk. Missing is the anticipation of the lope and of the pole exercise. I see a lovely little mare just walking like it is no big deal. The rider also seems to not be worked up about the impending exercise; they are just “walking”! Oh and the entire thing was done in a snaffle!
It looks like I need to figure out the software for the new camera. The quality I orginally had was much better than what ended up on YouTube. Stay tuned.