This really was the day! I have for a long time wanted to ride for Stian Pedersen, and when the opportunity came, I took it. It isn’t every day you get the chance to ride for a world champion, right? I also got to take advantage of the opportunity to drive a horse trailer with Baldur inside for the first time. And then we traveled over to “Stall SP” to get some insight in what we can do to improve.
Over: I didn’t know what to expect, but that Stian was going to come driving a four-wheeler with a cowboy hat was not the first thing that came to my mind!
When I arrived at the barn at home in the morning, I started off doing the daily “chores” such as mucking the stall and making feed. After that was done, we grabbed Baldur and brought him inside to be groomed. I fetched all the necessary equipment and loaded it into the car. At around 12, I put on Baldur’s transport leg protectors and loaded Baldur into the trailer. And so my first horse trailer drive with Baldur inside started! It actually went really well, I was driving very carefully, and the horse was calm and relaxed on the trailer!
We arrived in one piece, and I unloaded Baldur. He got another good brush before Stian came and asked me a little bit about Baldur, where he came from and what I was expecting to get out of his lesson. I had literally no expectations at all, I just wanted to learn more of how I can ride Baldur in a better way for us to reach further when it comes to gaited work. We saddled up and walked down to the oval track. Stian wanted me to warm up Baldur how I usually do it, and we took it from there.
Immediately we found out that I am sitting skewed on Baldur when we ride on the left rein, his “bad” side. This made it harder for Baldur to use his body correctly, simply because I am blocking him from doing so, in all ignorance. He loosened up a lot after we corrected my skewed-ness. It will of course not be fixed in 1-2-3, this is something I have to work on continuously for it so feel natural to sit straight. Because right now, sitting skewed feels natural to me. So when I lean more to the left and straighten up, it feels very awkward for me. The only thing to fix this, is to ride more straight and just get used to it and make it the new normal.
I addition to this, I have to be better at giving with my hands, I tend to get stiff and not letting my hands follow the movements in his head. I think this was the hardest thing to do the entire lesson. It was straight up hard. I know, right? A thing so simple is hard for me to do. I have to learn to lift my hands as I sit down in posting trot. And when Stian told me to do just that, it was like asking me to scratch my head with one hand and stroke my belly with the other – while riding a horse! I was totally confused and felt like I couldn’t do it, but it loosened up after a while. I also have to work with loosening my hips in canter, the same way I loosen when I sit down in trot. One of the reasons I struggle with sitting down in the saddle, is because I stiffen my hips and can’t follow the movements. This also improved very fast!
And I have to brag a little. As if it wasn’t enough that Baldur behaved exemplary, but Stian told me that he very much liked the way I communicate and work with Baldur. For example when we first started cantering, Baldur was very unbalanced, 4-beated and stiff. So instead of me correcting and pushing him, I let him find the canter on his own, and I waited for him to find his own balance. After that, he loosened up and we had a nice rhythm. I also asked if we are ready for competitions soon, and the answer was a clear yes. We are definitely ready now!
Over: Baldur was very smooth and light in the slow tölt.
Over: Back to the skewed-ness. I ride Baldur too much to the right, making the saddle slip a little bit to the right and ends up laying on his spine. So I have to start putting more weight in the left stirrup, until it feels normal – when that happens, we are on the right path!
Over: During this lesson, I also noticed that it is easier for me to obtain a correct posture when I ride in the Geysir Gold Plus. I feel like I am sitting more correctly!
Over: This is where we were working on my hands. I literally shouted at Stian “it’s like you are asking me to scratch my head while stroking my belly!” It was very hard to accomplish, my brain almost boiled!
Over: I also have to show you the new bridle I bought from Hrimnir. I have been drooling over this bridle for over 6 months, and I finally grabbed myself by the neck and purchased it. I have never in my life bought an “expensive” bridle before, that is why I was thinking about it for so long, but it had to be done! And Baldur fits it so well, don’t you think?
Over: Here we are showing the fast tölt! Stian gave me a tip to actually speed him up during the short side, or turn, on the oval track instead of speeding him up on the long sides. This will make it easier for the horse!
I am so pleased with Baldur’s effort in this lesson, he worked like a hero! After the recent visits from our chiropractor Harriet, Baldur’s body has grown in muscle and really taken shape. But he also puts his legs well under himself and stretches them good! So now I am hoping we will be entering the first gaited competition we can, as for now, it looks like we will be entering the Sleipnir club competition – exciting! We have never entered a show in Hamar!