Why do I feel like everyone has been dying to tell me to get some lessons but no one would? LOL People. Speak up next time.
There. Lecture done. :)
Honestly though, I know some individuals who read this blog are itching to tell me something but don't want to:
- a. hurt my feelings (people. I work in politics. Most of the feeling was burned out of me in the first quarter of 1998);
- b. get stomped on by other commenters who may feel the need to defend me;
- c. or are just ... chicken.
So, here's the deal. You got something to say that you think can help me, then say it. You don't want it to appear, tell me in the comment (say something like "private" or something) and I will read it and not post it. You don't even have to identify yourself. I may write about it later, but I promise not to out you.
And trust me, you can't hurt my feelings.
Okay, moving on.
TR and I have a lesson scheduled with Dave in a week. I'm not sure who is more excited.
Tonight TR was generous enough to help me on my wet saddle blanket journey and invited me over to work with his horse, Woody, while he rode Lola (Lola is doing well, BTW, the conditioning program he has her on is doing wonders. She didn't stumble once).
We finished off our practice with circle work. I worked on my hands, reins, cantering in circles around a cone - all my circle work had been in a round pen, which is much easier. TR helped me connect the dots and put up with me asking all kinds of stupid questions (yes, there are stupid questions, you just have to try to keep a straight face when people ask them).
For the first time I felt the drop shoulder that was turning my horse because TR spotted just when I did it. I worked on understanding what to do with the reins and when. It was by no means pretty, but it was a baby step forward. I felt a surge of confidence on the canter, the slow and easy one that Woody has, and we just kept working on making the oval a circle.
Never did quite get it. But we were working towards it.
All to soon the sun was fading, the dusty blue sky was deepening to velvet indigo. The light had gone that lovely golden color by the time we rode back to the barn, we switched horses - I was on Lola and TR was on Woody. Woody, who had seemed a perfect gentleman in the pasture with me, started jigging slightly and carrying his head high. Going back to the barn is this horse's only vice. It was the very first thing TR had worked on with him and something that springs back when he's been on pasture vacation. Which he had been since Lola has had TR's conditioning time.
Lola, on the other hand was calm until I asked her not to follow Woody in the barn. We explored all kinds of options until we got to stop. You know how a dog will go through all it's tricks in about 15 seconds to try to earn it's treat? Sort of like that. But I just wanted her to stand still outside the barn for me to get off.
She's side passing, TR told me at one point. You must be telling her to do that.
I don't think so - I said - I'm just trying to get her to stop outside the barn. I kept trying to cue more and more softly, because she was getting concerned. Nothing to worry about, but I could tell I was confusing her. I thought perhaps when she rides with the group they come into the barn together, but TR didn't think it was that. Undoubtedly me, but I couldn't quite see where. But I needed to figure it out, either way.
Lola and I worked for a few minutes. We even had to back out of the barn at one point. Then she finally stood still outside the door. She was quite relieved to finally have figure out what I wanted. Me too.
She's a great horse, and I can see that TR has her well on the way to being another Woody.
On the way home I thought about this journey quite a bit. I thought of the way I rode Woody's canter, feeling a great sense of balance and relaxing into the movement...
No, that's not quite right.
It's not relaxing, really. You're working hard, especially if you are doing it right. The feeling is more like joining in the movement seamlessly. Like flowing with the wind, soft, yet moving with strength.
The whole time we were going in circles I was trying to remember so many things but then it came, that moment when you hit it right and it all comes together and you're as comfortable and confident as anywhere you've ever been. It didn't last long, because then I'd forget to keep my seat right, or my rein would drop or I'd do half a dozen things wrong. Another few laps and it would happen again, just for a few strides. Then back to fumbling.
But it doesn't erase that moment. Nothing erases that moment.