Sooo - lets talk about Saddlebreds for a moment. With American Saddlebreds, it is all about motion. Motion in every gait is wonderful, but most especially at the trot! Saddlebreds, either 3 or 5 gaited MUST have a good strong animated trot. Here is a mare with extremely good motion being shown here at the rack!
Here is another one showing at the trot!
I am just now learning how to ride aside and had my first lesson on Oliver this weekend. We finally resolved the issue of why my saddle was slipping and got that behind us ..so I was able to trot for longer stretches and start my posting work. Holy Crap - that was exhausting! Posting aside is totally and completely different than posting astride!! This is Oilver for those of you who don't know him yet.Oliver was such a good boy for me. I think he understood that I was trying to learn something new and instead of giving me the all out action trot, he just jogged around the round pen while I got my wits about me so Kelli (my instructor) could take the lunge line off of us. After about 15 minutes more, I was ready to go into the big outdoor arena. Again - Oliver was such a gentleman!! We trotted around the arena, ALL the way around without stopping while I practiced my posting. I would post a few strides and bounce a few, post a few more, notice I was on the wrong diagonal and bounce again. My legs would clench the saddle horns for dear life and as I posted, I did notice I was inching up toward the front of the saddle a bit. When I changed gaits, I settled back into the saddle again. We changed direction and worked the other way. It is AMAZING how much different it is when your saddle just stays in place!! It is NOT easy, but at least you can work to improve your skills, muscle tone and balance.
I worked so hard not to push into the stirrup that it actually went in the opposite direction with my stirrup slipping a bit. Whenever I was trying to reposition my foot in the stirrup, I would forget about my hands and they would raise up. I guess I have a One Lane brain and cannot do 2 things at once when I ride...at least not yet! All and all, I am thrilled with my progress though and can't wait to get more hours aside under my belt. Maybe next week we will try the canter!
...and from what I am told..cantering is WAY EASIER than trotting aside......ESPECIALLY on a Saddlebred!