With my seven layers of clothing, and Rama wrapped in three woolen rugs, we somehow managed to brave the cold -16.6℃ temperature and go to our early morning lesson with Ville Vaurio. I was in a group of three, with one pony and one riding school horse and the lesson went quite well!
The main thing that Ville wanted me to work on was my posture, and my use of aids. During the lesson we did very simple exercises, walk-trot-walk transitions and trot-canter-trot transitions. Rama was rather excited at the beginning, and so our walk trot transitions weren't nearly as good as they could have been. Instead of walking, Rama decided that jogging on the spot/piaffe/trying to canter was a much better pace to use. Ville wanted Rama to have more impulsion, and so I had to try to get Rama to slow down from trot to walk without using my hands = using my seat and core stomach muscles. After about ten minutes in both directions, we got there; but the transitions weren't on the spot, and rather it took five steps for the transition to occur. Something to work on!
Ville also want to improve Rama's canter, because even though it is a big canter, it is easily slow and long, and you want it to be more energetic and quicker. Otherwise it looks like Rama is about to fall down to trot every single stride. We also have to focus on more engagement from behind to make the 'whole package' complete, which means that we have to work on developing the carrying, lifting and thrusting power of his haunches. Ville's last bit of advice was to carry on pushing your limits and boundaries, even when you think it's enough or that you are too tired, try to ask for a little bit more from your horse and from yourself as well.
|The training scales|
Ville's points on my seat and position:
- Keep your hands lower ➞ if you keep your hands in a higher position, it looks like you are carrying him ➞ he looks heavy on the hand even though we know he isn't
- Keep your chin up and shoulders back ➞ looks much better ➞ improving own posture
- Don't leave your leg 'on' ➞ only use your legs when needed to make horse go forwards, otherwise leave leg 'off' in a long and relaxed position ➞ do not override him, enjoy traveling and sitting still when he goes well
|Rama and dad!|
|Vallu ready to go for his walk|
|Our very sweet and kind horses during the awful process of tightening the girth|
|Red matchy matchy!|