Joe and I went to a one day local schooling show on Saturday. On Wednesday before the show Sarah met me in the barn with an English saddle and was all excited because it fit Joe. I rode it in for the first time on Thursday. There is no faster way to find out how weak my core is than to go back to an English saddle. Once I figured my body out I was really impressed by how nicely Joe goes English. I rode English again on Friday. Sarah kept saying “When you get stronger” there was no “if” in her conversation. There was even talk of lessons without stirrups in my future.
Joe was wonderful at the show on Saturday. We started the morning with English Walk/Trot and Walk/Trot/Canter classes. He excelled in the walk/trot, but seemed to lose focus in the canter classes. All of a sudden he remembered that there were other horses in the arena and did not like it when they came up behind him. This was one of the reasons for the schooling show. He had been run up on at this same arena a few years ago which is when he started to get spooked in traffic. Each time he got upset I put him to work and circled him. I didn’t take long for him to refocus, it also helped me to stay in my bubble and keep my own. We switched to Western tack for the afternoon; I have to say it was much easier to ride Western after 3 days of English. My leg started to make sense now. Joe was a rock star in his Western classes. The lope on that horse brings a smile to my face every single time! I could really get used to showing him. We brought home a pile of blue ribbons and some highpoint awards but most of all we both loaded up with some show ring confidence. Next show is in 2 weeks.
Today I arrived to my lesson and announced to Sarah that I would be riding in the English saddle without stirrups. If the next show is in 2 weeks I have to get on this getting stronger plan. 10 minutes into the lesson Sarah said “remember this was your idea”. OUCH! The first thing I figured out was that I was not going to let Joe give me the usually jarring trot he starts out with. There was no way I would stay in the saddle, so I pushed him into the bridle with my leg and asked him to lift his back. Sarah had me sit the trot, then stand up in two-point for 5 strides. I could barely do it. She also had me post for 5 strides and sit for 5. Wow.. I am weak! Canter was much better, I was able to really get the feel for using my legs and core and not just my hands. I was planning to start working out again, but after tonight’s lesson I’m thinking I could just ride without stirrups and be set. Hope I can walk tomorrow!