Since last year I have been trying to learn western, I say try, because in between lockdown, lessons have been on a huge waitlist and so far I have had 6! I am aiming for once and month at the moment and hope to increase this closer to when Django will need backing! It is definitely starting to feel daunting that I have a quarter horse who is only 18 months away from backing, and in the last 12 months I have only managed 6 lessons.... But fingers crossed for no more set backs!
My lesson before last felt really great, I had the honour of riding a horse new to lessons, still beautifully schooled and absolutely new her job, but just lacked a little confidence, whereas up to now the horses have all very much been riding school horses and knew their job inside out - even when I didn't have a clue.
It was nice to really feel my mistakes, and have to work harder and more accurately to get results, which I actually really enjoyed. Feeling her lope steady to the correct pace because of my commands and efforts was incredibly satisfying, oppose to the more experienced horse automatically loping at the correct speed with very little input. My last lessons was therefore very disappointing! And wow what an eyeopener! I had backache, yup just backache. We had been doing a lot of building work during the week, and I was feeling a bit weak and sore but nothing that had stopped me riding at home, but when I arrived I was on another newer to lessons horse and was really excited after my last lesson, however once we warmed up and started trot work I could not get this mare to turn right - not even a little. She was very sensitive, and due to my sore back, I just could not get the perfect balance in my seat, because my seat wasn't completely central, my commands through my hip and seat were then not crystal clear when I wanted to turn. I was really disappointed and I didn't even manage a lope, and was even finding walk hard work!
The next day I hopped straight on Ben and concentrated solely on my seat bones, sometimes when we have out hands to use, it is very easy to stop concentrating on our seat which fundamentally is the part most in contact with the horse. Western has improved my English riding so much, and I absolutely love every aspects from the training and horsemanship to the wonderful environment at shows.