I had an absolutely super day today. Started an hour later as some of my regular riders are away skiing or doing something equally unnecessary (don't they know their priorities - riding comes first!!;))). Not that I minded that additional sleep ;)
I sat on the fence at my usual spot where I like to sit as I can see everything much better from there and watched my 10am riders. They've been riding with me for over a year now and although I am pleased with how they improved I am now determined to make them even better riders. I let them chose what they wanted to work on today as I wanted to observe them a little more and think about what to do to correct some problems I know need sorting. Finally decided to use a saddle strap with Suzanne who I really want to make to use her seat better and get that "riding the horse from leg/seat to the contact" feeling. The yard has these super long straps which they use for RDA and voila! I got Suzanne to use one and it did a great job and I am now going to use it next week on all three ladies in this group. I asked her to loop a few fingers around the strap, pull gently upwards on it (she later discovered that pushing the strap upwards AND forwards has a better effect) to give her the feel of 'pushing a trolley forwards' and her task was to ride the horse through three loop serpentines and transitions within trot by using her body/seat only.
Suzanne is one of the best kind of riders to teach as she tries so hard and it actually does show in results! Before I move from London she is going to ride 100% better - that's my mission anyway.
Pic.: As you can see the strap made Suzanne keep her hands steady and in front of the saddle with her elbows bent and softly dropped by her sides. Amazingly it made her really *think* with the seat and not hands only. Great job Suzanne!
I then taught two new ladies who both did ballet in the past. They were great fun to teach and although there was a lot of body patterns we had to fight with (arched back, toes out, thighs rotated outwards!!!! - all the opposites!) they both had fantastic innate balance and awareness of the centre of gravity within their bodies. Go dancing people!!
After lunch I had to take another new client (see, they only manage to book new clients for me in times of holidays when all my regular riders are away) out for a hack in Richmond Park. Now, Richmond Park is NOT a little square, it's ginormous and all riders have to stay on special tracks. There is a fine for going off tracks without being allowed to do so (only a couple of months a year unfortunately) and I am not at all familiar with the part of the Park my stables use. The only hacks I have done so far were with regular riders who just told me where to go.
So, I asked Suzanne to draw me a map of my route. She promptly did...
She drew a map of ENGLAND!!!!!! How funny! (This actually was re a joke we once came up with but I won't bore you all with that;)
I gently pointed out that I may need a little bit more details so she corrected herself:
I made sure I read the map well...
And we managed to be back bang on time for my next lesson despite the fact that my dear ex-race mount tried to buck me off after getting a bit over excited seeing a long stretch of a track!
Then the last lesson with my regular rider who also kindly drove me back home yay!
Since I returned so early Ricky and I popped for a coffee and walkies around my favourite place: Holland Park. It's on our doorstep and is the only place I will truly miss when we move away.