I was able to start off the month of February (which I did not know it was February 1st at the time) riding. After classes I went to the barn and rode Mr P.
* Work on my balance by standing up in the saddle at the walk for at least the whole long end of the arena
* Focus on looking ahead and not at the horses head
* Work on keeping the correct riding position
* Do some walk/halt transitions and try to gain a balanced and precise halt.
* Work on holding the correct posture
Did I succeed?
* I was able to stand up in the stirrups almost the full long length of the arena, I also practiced turning while standing up. My balanced seemed really good and improved from day 1, and I was able to turn very nicely. One of my better abilities while standing up is not pulling on the horses mouth and keeping good slack in the reins. I still have to work on standing up without pinching my knees, and instead having full even contact with my lower and upper legs.
* There was only a few times where I consciously caught myself looking down at Mr P's poll. I found that I was able to balance better while standing up when I was looking at where I was going (like everyone has told me haha!)
* While riding, S told me that I had a great leg position. My leg position has always been one of my strong suits even after all of the surgeries. I really need to work on my elbows and wrists, finding that happy medium of having my elbows move with the horse, but still having them by my side. Any advice?
* The halting precisely and balanced needs some more work. When I am not able to do something correctly I always try to look at what I could be doing wrong, as apposed to what is the horse doing wrong. Before I halted I tried to run through the steps in my head: sit deeper in the saddle, be taller in your posture, squeeze with thighs, set the bit, and halt. But, out of all the times I halted, I only got a few that I was really pleased with (maybe I'm being too hard on myself?). But, Mr P decided to throw a 'tude and fling his head all through the riding period. I rode him the other day and this wasn't happening, so I was able to rule out bit/bridle issues. I asked S and she agreed that it was probably a 'tude problem.
* While riding, I tend to lean a little forward and my shoulders tend to be more forward then the rest of my body. I have been trying to work on leaning farther back, maybe a little too far back, in order to correct this and consciously rolling my shoulders back in order for them to be aligned where they are suppose to be.
I think the riding went well overall. I still have a lot more practicing to go but I believe with some more lessons and more practice, I'll be on the right road.