Tenth Day in Florida


Today I got the amazing opportunity to ride with Olympian Michael Barisone. During my lesson the first thing that he addressed was my position. He told me that as an upcoming 15780701_1291110264242453_6194644960297067294_nprofessional rider I should not just ride like one but look like one as well. He asked that I keep my hands together and only make minuscule movements as well as keep my shoulders back so that I leave my chest more open and am able to engage my core and abs more productively.

He then watched me warm up, and told me that as a professional rider he was not going to coach me on the little things. This was different because from the beginning he expected a higher level of quality from me and my riding and was challenging me to step up my game. This was neat in that it made me ride differently in that I had to pay attention to every little detail since no one was going to tell me a little more angle here and little more bend there. I loved it. Another thing that Michael had me focus on doing is counting my strides in the corners to ensure that I go into the corner but not to the point where my horse loses balance in the corner. He called this the German Corner System where you do 5 strides in trot and 4 strides in canter. When doing so you get there horse wrapped around your inside leg and into your outside rein and I found this enables you to better prepare for movements such as tempi lines, shoulder in, and half passes because you start with control of the outside shoulder and you have the horse already stepping up into the outside rein from the inside leg. This created a different feeling of preparation.

After a small walk break we got down to some serious work. Michael really liked my horse, Woo, but he said that he has so much more horse in his gaits that you are not even tapping into yet. He told me to think medium trot but instead to hold him back while keeping him active and pushing to the contact with my seat and leg. This was extremely difficult at first since it was a new side of the gait and it was absolutely huge. It took me a few rounds to 15726883_1291110247575788_6397217649604821258_nget the hang of it and to move with the horse more in sync. After establishing the trot and the throughness, Michael had me take that same trot into the lateral movements and see what I had. It was a completely different horse! Woo had so much more reach and I could feel the hind legs with me in each and every step!

After this was a small walk break and then straight into a little bit of canter work. He asked me to treat the canter like he is not a young horse anymore and to really ask him to sit in and take the weight behind no matter how awkward it felt. Doing so I was able to start getting a few steps of true collected canter where I could feel Woo sit in and carry me in an uphill frame. This was a monumental lesson for me in that I was able to learn so much in a short period of time.

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