As she wrapped up her workout, she told me to feel free to jump in and give it a go.
So we did. I mean really. Two poles? Not even a related distance? How hard can it be? All we have to do is stay straight and balanced on a nice, rhythmic circle.
^Apparently, that is SUPER HARD. Not mentally--it's a very basic exercise. It's just that Cuna and I are hammering out our respective responsibilities.
So we start over the exercise at a canter. I give him a kick to get him forward, then try to take a connection with the reins. We awkwardly hop the pole and he cross canters. I drop to trot, pick up a correct lead, take connection, awkwardly hop, worse lead change. Yikes! This isn't working.
Then the student explains that I am riding with my hands too much. Cuna is a long horse and he takes a lot of leg and core strength. Too much hand just unbalances him and makes him crooked.
We try again, this time with a little coaching. Kick forward. Pick up contact, put hands in neck. LEG ON. Steady to the pole. Not awkward. LEG ON. ENGAGE CORE. MORE CORE. Have to balance him from my body. Now forward. Kick! LEG ON. ENGAGE CORE. Not awkward.
We made a nice circle each way (after several attempts), and then I called it quits. Cuna had barely worked--I thought I would die. I am not fit enough to ride a long-bodied horse, let me tell you.
I mean, I can run several miles at a good pace even without training and be fine. I can do an hour long pilates class and barely break a sweat. I can work long hours at the barn and still keep trucking.
But ask me to put a big ol' horse together? That's no task for sissies.
I have no idea how I'm going to live through an hour long lesson tomorrow.
PS Tired of my steady barrage of cell phone photos? Look for real, actual pictures tomorrow! My favorite Ellie ever may or may not have made it out to the barn today.