Had a lesson with my normal instructor today. (And with my friend C, who is going to start taking lessons with me because she, too, just wants to be a better rider. She’s pretty cool.) I rode Clipper, the Arab.
I’m getting my hands figured out. They’re not perfect, but I’m getting the hang of “light contact” and which way to pull on the reins and how to keep my hands still while my elbows open and close. Unfortunately, this means that everything else is noticeably falling apart!
I cannot ride in a circle. I can ride in weird wobbly egg shapes, and I can ride in diamond shapes, but not circles. Man. I take it all back, all that snarking I used to do about how riding in circles sounded boooooring. It’s hard!
In addition, I can’t quite figure out what to do with my legs. I’ll get my calves wrapped around poor Clipper’s ribs so I can keep nudging him to keep trotting for me, but then my heels pop up and my toes start to slip through the stirrups. So I’ll wiggle my feet back and concentrate on keeping my heels down as I post, but then I’ll either start riding in diamonds again or I’ll forget to nudge Clipper and he’ll laze on down to a walk. ARGH!
I used to know how to post. I’m positive of that. Last summer I would ride Champ down narrow dirt trails in the forest at a fast trot, posting effortlessly and neckreining to either side of the trees. What happened? Am I overthinking things? Probably. Hmph.
Well, posting in circles was difficult, so I headed out to the field to ride my non-posting horse. Dixie seemed to know it was her turn and came right up to me. She didn’t put up a fuss at all when I saddled her, and she opened her mouth for the snaffle bit.
THE SNAFFLE BIT. Yep, I did it. I finally got up the nerve to try Dixie (née Quinn) out in the Infamous French Link Snaffle again. She’s been so… you know… calm lately that I figured she might appreciate it. And you know what? She did. She stood really still for me to mount. Then she waited til I asked her to move out. Then she gaited in a circle, then stopped when I said woah and sat back a bit and pulled on the reins a little. Then we went on a very nice trail ride.
The only thing I can credit is letting her live in a herd for three months. She just really needed to unwind and learn to be a horse. And I made friends with her – I kill flies and offer cookies and scratch the itchy spots. But I ride her too, which used to have plenty of negative memories for her!
It really takes my breath away about all the horses, that they’ll come up to me and stand quietly for me to saddle them and ride them. The only possible explanation I have is that it must actually be FUN for them. Yay!