You'll never guess what Marlene had to say tonight in our fourth lesson. She said we are doing great with our shoulder and haunches in, but I need to Hula my hips more because I am locking them up. How funny is that?! I knew I was doing that, but to hear her use those exact words was just priceless as that's what I was thinking after we had our twisting revelation a couple weeks ago. Ha!
Well we didn't really work on much new tonight, but uncovered an error in my haunches in training. Our shoulder in is really quite nice and Marlene is really happy with it, but I have to remember not to take too much bend as I am wanting to over-bend to the inside with the neck. She wants the neck straight and the body bent, my head focusing on traveling straight while my hips are turned toward the middle. And of course hula-ing to keep my seat moving and not lock up and give a conflicting message to Louie.
For haunches in, I was putting more weight on my outside hip bone to get Louie to move his haunches away. Well I guess this is incorrect. I should still turn my hips like I have been, but I need to keep more weight (not all, just more) on my inside seat bone- ALWAYS. The seat is used to keep the bend, so when doing haunches in, he still needs to be bent toward the inside, and I still need to keep more weight on the inside seat bone, applying leg pressure behind the girth on the outside leg, and a knee/calf at the girth on the inside to leg yield to the wall. All of that while not locking my hips. Whew! Well that's going to take some work, probably with my eyes closed or something.
We worked on a drill to help me keep my weight correct, and that was to aim down one straight away doing shoulders in, then transition to haunches in, then back to shoulder in. This should help me keep the momentum going forward with my seat, and also keep the pressure consistent on my inside seat bone through the whole straight away. Through all of it, I need to keep kindof playing the bridle a little bit to keep Louie reassured and not raising his neck/head up in confusion.
Sandy came to watch our lesson today too, and it was nice having her there. She got to see what kind of "college education" I was getting and she really liked Marlene as an instructor and liked watching our lesson. After the lesson, Sandy even hopped on Louie and took him for a spin in my new saddle, which she thought was great. It was good to see her get back on a horse again and though Louie was rather confused, he did a nice job toting her around in a couple of circles
Overall, we had a very nice lesson, learned a lot, and have a lot to work on for next time. Marlene was genuinely very impressed that we'd made this much progress in four rides though, with all of the cold weather we've had. That made me happy, but of course I'm fairly motivated to make the most of these lessons. They're great for both Louie and for me and I can't wait to see what kind of progress we will make in the next few months!