photo of the day (my weekly dose of horse)
The lack of horsey goodness around here this week is because I changed our riding lessons from Tuesday to Thursday. There was just too much happening all at the same time on Tuesday to even take the time, even though to my own amazement, my lesson for my coop photo class was pretty much done. The snowstorm on Monday, as expected, resulted in a delayed opening on Tuesday morning for Clare’s school. There was shopping to do and lunch to prepare for coop as well. Not to mention the fact that it was frigidly cold. Neither Texas nor I do well in that kind of cold. Poor old man has arthritis. Poor old lady just doesn’t like to ride all bundled up with numb fingers and toes.
Thursday rolled around and the weather was downright lovely. It was the kind of day that made it so much easier to ride, still cold enough to need riding gloves but not that awful biting cold that makes everything unpleasant. I was looking forward to our lessons even more because we would be working with Kirsten, the barn owner, and lessons with her are always a treat. I like the instructor we have pretty well, but lessons with Kirsten always manage to take things to another level.
Clare went first and I got to relax and watch and listen to not only her lesson with Kirsten but to another lesson that Kirsten’s daughter Yanni was giving at the same time. When my daughter started her vaulting lessons, it would frustrate me to no end that she didn’t pay more attention to what the instructor was telling the other riders. When it was her turn to ride, she would get on the horse, do her thing, get off and then go and play with her friends. I kept trying to get her to watch and listen and learn while the other girls were on the horse. She would get all huffy with me and really, it wasn’t as if she was the only one not paying attention. The girls who did pay attention were the ones who rode a lot, were more serious about their riding and their vaulting, and yes, a little older.
I have to say that much of the little I’ve learned about horses and riding have come from those chances to listen while other people are riding. When I’m up on the horse there is so much to think about: am I sitting tall enough or am I leaning, are my reins too loose, am I crossing his withers, are my hands too high, have I found the right diagonal, is he going to take off on me and head for the door again? I hear my instructor talking to me and I try to incorporate all of what she is saying with all of what I’m thinking about and I wonder how much I absorb. But if I listen in on someone else’s lesson, things start to come together in my mind and everything makes sense.
Texas and I did really well together. I do believe that part of the reason is because Mom was in the ring and he always behaves better — not perfect, but better — when Mom is around. But the other part of it is that I expected him to misbehave a little and I was ready for him and didn’t let him get away with it. So not only did I trot without the longe line but I managed to keep him going and keep him from heading for the door every time we were pointing in that direction. Yay me! Yay Texas!
So now I am graduating up to a new horse. I’m going to ride Oso, Texas’ best friend and paddock mate while Clare rides Texas. Oso is a Spanish Norman and he is a sweetheart with the softest nose. It will be funny not riding Texas but I’m sure Oso and I will get along just fine. I can’t wait until Tuesday. The best thing is that we are going to increase our lessons to an hour each.
Hooray! I’m making progress!
Oh, and I just wanted to mention that I know I’m a total greenhorn when it comes to riding. I haven’t gotten the lingo down at all. I don’t know what to call anything. So if you are an experienced rider and are snorting milk out of your nose at the thought of the noob calling it a stable, when it’s a barn or anything else you see, leave me a comment and help me out here. I’m open to learning all I can. And I’m enjoying every minute of it.