17.7.14

Mechanical horse lesson

We're incredibly fortunate to have a high class riding school and livery yard as our neighbour, now even more so because they have the equine simulator! I've been dying to try it out since it arrived last year, but I've never had the opportunity before now. Back in England I had about 15 lessons on a mechanical horse, and found them all incredibly helpful in developing my posture and refining the use of my aids. But for some reason, these are incredibly rare in Finland (right now I think that there are only about 3) so we're exceptionally lucky to have one next door to us!
My lesson was amazing. I know how great learning to ride on a mechanical horse was when I was younger, but now that I've been riding for a long time and having gained lots of experience and knowledge from riding different horses, the mechanical horse was even greater than before. It's great to be 'riding' a big moving horse, but not having to focus on anything else than yourself! Normally you have to work on the horse's outline, way of going, looking around you so you don't crash into anyone etc, but now all your focus could go into thinking about your seat.
Things that we focused on during the lesson were:
1. My left hip joint is more stiff than my right one - this effects how the left side of my seat works. Instead of moving forwards and up, the hip joint moves too much outside, which mean a gap develops between my leg and the saddle.
2. My left wrist doesn't stay completely straight - which affects the straightness and the connection between my shoulder and the horse's mouth, and this can lead to breaking up the connection between my shoulder/hand and the horse's mouth.
3. There's a big difference between my right and left shoulder (left is a lot tighter) - developed from being right handed and mucking out in a certain direction - which means that during riding I easily have uneven hands. Since my left shoulder is tighter, on the right rein it's all fine because my outside rein is steady and my inside rein is flexible and moving with the horse. But on the other rein, my tighter and slower left hand ends up easily blocking the rein and inadvertently slowing Vallu down, and then I 'throw away' the right rein. I've got lots to work on...

If anyone has the chance to go and have lessons on one, I highly recommend it! I've been noticing a big difference in Vallu after my lesson, and all of it has been incredibly positive.

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