My saddleseat instructor says that 90% of the time, she would rather have someone new to riding than a crossover from another discipline. Ingrained habits are just too hard to break.
I can see her point. As a crossover hunter/jumper/event rider, I am doing okay so far. However, I have always been a theoretical rider, perhaps to a fault. I want to know why my hands need to be doing thus-and-such and what that means for my balance and where my legs need to be. I have been accused of over-thinking my riding. This is just a new set of theories to think about.
In the beginning, I would lean forward and kick with my heels when I wanted the horse to go. I gotten past that, mostly. However, I still revert in moments of confusion. Sam and I were attempting the pattern that the Advanced Adult Class will be doing in Saturday’s show. It involved two-loop serpentines at the trot and canter. Saddleseat riders take their pattern work seriously. This was no lazy set of loops along the ring. The serpentines went across the center of the ring, meaning 10-meter loops at best. Plus, the transitions and the change of direction for the canter serpentine where to be done through the halt. All of this on a horse I that I am still learning to turn. Until now I have been relying on the rail to keep Sam turning left or right.
So, I’ve done my trot serpentine, have halted, and am looking down the barrel of half-circle/halt/half-circle/halt/reverse/trot. I get flustered, bend Sam to the inside, and ask him to canter. Saddleseat horses canter off outside leg/outside rein. Sam does exactly what I ask and picks up the wrong lead, leaving us to do a 10-meter half-circle on a counter-canter. It does not go well.
I can do it when I have time to think about it, but she’s right. When rushed, I fall back on habits of a lifetime.
List of saddleseat posts.
Have you learned a new riding (fencing, knitting) discipline? How did the changeover work for you?
Gratuitous Kitten Pic
Rhyme likes to ride on my shoulder.