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Slow Your Roll

It wasn’t new to me. Being told I post too darn fast. J used to get on me about that all the time. My time with Gem on the trail is mostly to blame. After that many conditioning and competition miles your muscle memory gets pretty honed in. By the time I retired Gem from endurance I could have told you precisely the mph we were traveling based solely on my posting. 5.5 mph….8 mph….12 mph. Spend that many hours trotting down a trail with a GPS watch attached to your wrist and you can’t help but learn pacing by feel.

When we turned to arena work it was the first issue, of many, that came with me from endurance. We careened around the arena in a very happy, forward 8 mph trot. Both Gem and I felt comfortable and at home. Trainer nearly had a stroke.

Zoom! Trainer J probably telling me to slow down, post lower, and lower my hands. 

Slow your posting.

Slow it.

No more.

Feel like you are almost walking.

There.

I heard those words dozens of times in every single ride.

Slow. Down.

When I chose H’Appy he came with a nice slow trot. He meandered around the arena. I felt like we weren’t going anywhere and my internal GPS was screaming “this is too slow! We are only going 3 mph!!!”

Trainer loved it. I lamented that we weren’t going anywhere. She responded that there was no where to go. It was a 20 m circle after all. What was the rush?

Poking along last summer

Over the months that I rode him I noticed that I was nagging him in the trot. He would be trotting along merrily and there I was asking for more, more, more.

Now he gives me more.

A lot more.

Good boy gave me what I wanted.

Now I don’t want it any longer.

During my latest lesson, C kept telling me to slow down. Post lower. Post heavier. Post slower. And when I did, he would relax, breathe and slow down. He never once broke to the canter.

I knew the issue was me. Fixing him would be easier. Fixing me…well that’s hard work. I can afford horse boot camp. I can’t afford a rider boot camp.

So that is my #1 homework while I figure out what lessons will work out for me. Slowing my body down. Stop asking for slow with my hands and fast with my body. That’s confusing. I imagine he feels as frustrated with me as I was with C and that is not how I want my horse to feel. No wonder he gets anxious and tense. Poor guy got stuck with me as his rider. Sorry buddy. We will figure it out though. I’m committed to that.

16 thoughts on “Slow Your Roll”

  1. Impressive that you knew your trot on Gem so well.
    June has natural impulsion and being told to slow down is completely new to me. It is hard to change what we know and have practiced for a long time!

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  2. It is hard riding and thinking and doing all the things at the same time! It makes me think of rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time. It is not easy! HA. I often feel overwhelmed with all things I have to do (well once I start riding again I know that will be an issue again for me)!

    Can you go (once you find someone you want to ride with) take a few lessons on a schoolmaster type horse? One you don’t have to worry about and can just concentrate on YOU. Sometimes that can lead to a great experience that you can apply back on your own horse. It is not like you have to do it five times a week but once or twice a month would be worth investing in yourself and learning. Then you can take what you learn and apply it to the orange beast! Just a thought.

    WhenI rode with Emily (dressage) it would be funny some days I would just be nag nag nag nag Remus with my leg and Emily would call me on it and make me post differently or get his attention with the dressage whip and it would all come together. It is not easy for sure!!

    It is amazing how many different kinds of posting help control the horse. Nothing wrong with asking for some help in figuring out what will work best for you and your horse. I am glad you got some trot work without cantering with C. Sometimes we don’t even realize what we are doing (been there got that tshirt)!

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    1. I could lesson on another horse but I don’t want to. Riding is my hobby and while I want to improve and learn and grow I enjoy it on my own horse at my own speed versus lessoning on others. We will get there and I’m in no hurry to do so. Knowing what to improve is half the battle

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  3. i swear it’s always the “simplest” things that are the hardest to fix…. my trainers (all of them) are constantly on my back about my posting too haha, bc yea apparently i suck at it (and am also extremely crooked in my posting, yay me). lately since i’ve been trying to learn how to sit the trot, i’ve realized that there’s a big difference in my upper body position between when i’m trying to sit, vs when i’m just posting as normal. probably, uh, there shouldn’t be such a big difference lol. so i’ve been trying to just sit a couple steps at a time, and then try to maintain the same balance or adjustments i made to sit, even as i resume posting. it’s…. challenging tho haha. good luck!

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    1. I’m not sure my mechanics of posting is correct either. I seem to either put too much weight in my feet or none at all while pinching with my knee. I was hoping a trainer would help with it instead of just yelling at me to slow down. Really I’m trying.

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  4. I get the sense that ‘slow your roll’ might apply to a lot of your life, not just riding. 🙂 And that’s not a shot. Honest. I often have a bunch of things that i want to get done and I can be like a steam roller. Posting fast is my thing. Slowing it down to bring a horse back is really hard. Really really hard. Sometimes I just go down to walk and then pick the trot back up again.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head so to speak. 100 mph or asleep.

      I tend to lose it from the transition because I drop the contact and then he gets on the forehand and heavy and it steam rolls. Having a better quality transition really helps the trot. But then the longer I trot the faster I get. It’s always something.

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    1. Slow my mind. Aha Hahahahahahha! I’d have more luck stopping a train with my fiber 😂 my brain is always going at a million miles an hour. Even at 3 am when I want to be sleeping. Sigh. Singing a slow song is a very good idea and one I will try!

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  5. Wow, so cool you know how fast you trot! Our own habits are the hardest to break, I am so bad at trotting so SLOW. I use a metronome app on my phone to help me out!

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