I had a lesson with John today and came out of it physically and mentally exhausted. I haven't had a lesson for well over a month now, for various reasons, so he asked me to warm up as usual, and said that he'd watch me. I walked her on a long rein, then started to trot. She'd had three days off, so was quite fresh, and was trotting round in a very choppy way. I tried to half halt her a bit, but she was on a bit of a mission.
John said, after about five minutes, that one of the main reasons that she was rushing was because she has made me twist my body. He said that I sit about two inches too far to the right, but have all my weight in the left stirrup. As a result, she is compensating and not working through her back to the right. He said that it's easier for her to the left, as my weight is in the left stirrup and so I can bend her. However, to the right, I am not able to use enough right leg. He got me to move my seat to the left and think about pushing my left hip towards her right ear when I rose in trot. This really helped. She began to bend properly and started stepping through and really swinging in her back. This was the same to the left and the right, which made a huge difference.
John then asked me to leg yield from the inside track to the wall on every long side, and noticed that she found it really difficult in trot on the right rein. He said that because she holds herself so prettily in front, she has been hiding the fact that she has some straightness issues to the right. When I finally did get the leg yielding, she gave me some lovely trot steps when we arrived back at the track. John even commented that her trot stride had doubled in length over the course of the lesson. I need to try and get that every time.
I came out of the lesson thinking hard and desperately trying to get my head around the corrections to my seat. It has to be one of the hardest things to change. I am going to have another lesson next week, as I really need him to put me in the right place! What I did love was the way Echo felt - she was powerful and seemed to be enjoying herself. Amazing.