Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This is Progress?

Last Friday's lesson was fabulous so I shouldn't have been shocked when I showed up at the barn yesterday and was told I would be riding a different horse. Ack! I've finally made enough progress to ride one of the more advanced lesson horses. Despite my whining and protests (I am nothing if not vocal) I agreed to have a lesson on this gelding. It was like riding an entirely different creature. I had a terrible time keeping him in a straight line and more than once we ended up going in a circle because I was giving the wrong cues. I basically just forgot everything - my heels were up, my hands were too high and I kept twisting and/or leaning my body. I was dripping with sweat and we never went beyond a walk. I have so much respect for the other ladies who I have seen ride him who don't seem to have these directional challenges. It didn't help that yesterday was a holiday so there were more people at the barn than usual to witness my performance; many of them youngsters who ride far better than I do and probably think I'm a idiot. Any perception that I might know more than them due to my advanced age was completely shattered. Actually that perception was probably wishful thinking on my part and they've known from day one that I am a newbie extraordinaire.

This horse demands total attention to detail. At one point I was distracted because it looked like the two barn cats were going to start fighting. The horse took this opportunity to meander off the track onto the quarter line. This is bad enough but my inability to get him back on the track was so frustrating. I tend to start using the reins when what he requires is correct leg and body cues. I am so grateful for patient trainers with positive feedback. I am both dreading and anticipating my next lesson to see if I'll be assigned him again or back to my usual mare who gives me the illusion that I know what I'm doing.

There was a barn show on Sunday and it was so much fun watching the competitions. A couple of the teens were jumping three foot fences. In fact, the horse I rode yesterday was ridden in some of the less advanced jumping classes. What a comedown for him to go from that to me. Have you ever seen resignation on a horse's face? That's the look he was giving me. Fortunately, I am the carrot queen so a lot is forgiven.

I discovered chai tea. Just what I need, another food craving.

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