The night I wrote my previous blog entry I was in a lot of pain and suffering with brain fog with the M.E. I ended up editing it a number of times as I couldn't spell simple words. My mind knew what it wanted to say but somehow it just didn't translate through my fingers. The signs weren't good for riding yesterday.
Another session with the osteopath though changed that. I've never really figured on the benefits of osteopathy. Initially I thought they helped with back / spinal problems. On Friday I found they helped with lymph glands and sinuses as well. I rattled through what else had been going on and further checks showed that I've got other problems besides my back. 30 mins later and everything treated I actually felt marginally better. Come Sat not only was my back settling but my neck and head felt better than they had done all week. At the yard the lovable Rocco waited with my favourite RI. I wasn't sure how the lesson would go and I did tell my RI about this last week and how I'd been. The answer ... just do what we can and stop when its too much.
I started warming Rocco up. I've really settled now in to riding with longer stirrups on him. It doesn't phase me and I can't do short anymore. Instinct kicks in and tells you something's not right. It was a beautiful sunny day and the sunlight shone through the gaps in the fence panelled walls. Rocco still hasn't got used to the sight of his own shadow and between B to C I could feel him waivering a little as opposed to the sideway shuffle or the knee jerk reaction he used to have. It was almost like he was settled but a little nervous and just needed that reassurance. I just put my legs on and talked him forward. That was the first and last time in the lesson. We'd got work to do and fun to be had.
After a change of rein my RI asked to see how I was with rising trot. We moved off and despite my reservations I wasn't too bad. Cones were down the B side of the school between the 3 quarter line and the outside track. My RI wanted me to do leg yields in trot. The other side wouldn't be too bad but this side would be a challenge. I've never trotted a leg yield through an obstacle but I managed it. I was better anticlockwise than clockwise. All in all they weren't too bad. I was pleasantly surprised and my RI just wondered what had happened to the old me. A short while later we went back to riding round the outside of the school.
A little break in walk and while Rocco and I were walking she asked me to try turn on the forehands every few letters and then turn back again. I did the first one and Rocco blew me away. It was amazing. He got it spot on. I'd applied little effort and the smartypants had nailed it. My RI said to do the second and ok a little out but still good. Third time and my RI asked when had I last practiced them (we'd not seen each other for 3 weeks). It had been a while I'd thought. 4 more later and my RI came over. She'd wanted to teach me them but there was little to teach apart from tidying them up. The lesson was going well, it couldn't get any better could it?
We'd last talked about core stability and getting back to doing a lot of sitting trot with a view to building up to canter. She knew my back hadn't been the best but wanted me to try a little, if it was too much we'd stop. I started off walk, rising trot and then sitting trot. I collapsed out of it and Rocco went back to walk. I picked it up again and was bouncing around abit. However, somewhere in my head there was something telling me that sitting trot now wasn't too bad.
I felt I could sort the bouncing out and just put my heels down, settled my shoulders back, felt my core lift and my sitting trot started to transform. I halted at B for a few seconds for a breather. Then something else happened. I've usually done sitting trot by moving off in walk, doing rising trot then going into sitting trot. My brain for some reason just said, screw this start in sitting trot and quit faffing. I tapped Rocco in the sides and asked for trot straight away and moved off ... in sitting trot. I've never ever done that. We happily went along and got to A and stopped. My RI looked at me and I was just smiling.
'How do you feel about canter'. Weirdly I was game for it but looking at the clock there was 10 mins if that left to the lesson. She'd asked me to do turn on the forehands to see what left there was to teach but its getting to the point that a step forward's needed. If I can't canter then I can't but its worth a try. We'd done sitting trot to see just how I was but she said there was a noticeable difference. We decided in the end that canter wasn't to be in this lesson. Instead we had a lengthy chat about next week and how we go about getting back into canter.
We've agreed Rocco would be best. My RI isn't sure how Rocco is on the lunge so has asked he's lunged this next week. I said couldn't I use a neck strap, just incase. He's got a bit of sheep skin saddle cloth underneath his saddle at the moment so if I did lose my balance I'd be screwed in hanging on. She said it was doable so that's not a problem. My RI asked if I'd seen Rocco canter. I said no. So she's going to ride him first and show me his canter before getting me to try. I didn't balk at any of this and I felt like we'd laid a lesson out that I'm really looking forward to trying and can cope with.
Rocco was getting a little bored though so it was back to this week's lesson and we moved off again. I don't know what it looked like from the ground but I managed to ask for sitting trot from A again and from E too. By C though the lesson was over. I was absolutely buzzing though. All the sitting trot had been minimal effort to move off into and just the odd tap to keep the impulsion there. I could have ridden for another half an hour. I hugged Rocco after we finished. He stood there as usual, noble, resolute looking at the strange humans making a fuss over him ... he probably thinks I'm a tad mad. Another lesson over it was time to hand him over to the next rider and time for me to leave. I wish it were Saturday again already and so chuffed with how I did in this lesson.