Cally and I had our second sidesaddle lesson together on Wednesday, along with a bit of a test run and fitting for the sidesaddle apron I’ve been working on. Big step one was that I put the sidesaddle on and girthed it all up (which is complicated by way more straps and buckles than a normal saddle) on my own! Very exciting, as that feels like a big step. (Don’t worry, Holly checked it before she let me mount.) I hopped up and was happy to see that the apron fit pretty well while mounted, and Cally totally didn’t care about a giant piece of fabric up there, being flapped along her side as we figured out where it needed pinned to hem, or as I twisted around unpinning safety pins from the edges of the skirt to use to do that. She’s just so amazingly tolerant.
Then we headed around the ring, to see what Cally would think of me actually riding with a skirt. Are you surprised to hear that she was completely fine and went right around like normal. Well, looking even fancier than normal.
My pet theory is that since she’s the kind of horse that knows when she’s at a show and steps it up a notch, she also knows that she looks extra fancy and elegant aside, and ups her game so that we look amazing. Because really, how fancy is she?
Since we’re going to be doing a Pleasure division at a show this weekend aside, we actually had a serious lesson, rather than just doing a bit of w-t-c to see how we both felt about things. Lots of working on keeping Cally round and using her back, because she’s so much easier to sit on when she goes that way, and working on me keeping balanced and sitting up as we went around. And I even got to try a bit of posting, which to me is much harder than just sitting. But I guess if I try doing some dressage aside I’m going to need to know how to do that, because you have to post the stretchy circle. And that miiiiight be a goal for next year–dressage show in a sidesaddle.
Then I actually cantered both directions, including to the left, which I find more difficult to balance, because both your legs are to the inside around the turns. It really helped me when Holly told me to think about turning to the outside around the turns, and weighting that outside seatbone a bit. Not that I really end up twisted that way, but thinking about that movement keeps me squared. And a bit more forward canter was actually more comfortable than a lopey one, shockingly enough. Cally was happy to comply, especially when she thought that we might get to jump things.
WHICH WE DID!
We started over half a cross rail, then since Cally seemed totally fine with it (I felt like a bit of a bobbly whiplast victim, mainly because I need to balance myself a bit more to the right in the air so I don’t end up twisted left on landing), went around to a real honest crossrail.
She was super about the entire thing, and looked pretty darn good doing it!
I don’t think I’m quite ready at this point to try a course aside, even a tiny one, so we’ll be sticking with just the basic w/t/c Pleasure flat class on Sunday. But it’s a great challenge, and fun, and something I definitely want to do more with.