photo of the day (movin’ on up!)
These two handsome fellows are Texas (the chestnut) and Oso (the black.) They are best friends and paddock mates. Up until now, my daughter and I have been riding Texas. But apparently, I have made Progress (yay, me!) and today, I got to ride Oso for the first time. Kirsten, the barn owner, told me that she had me ride Texas to learn my balance and now, I’m ready to move on to riding Oso to start learning the art of dressage.
Today was a make-up lesson for me and also, my day to help with chores around the barn. I showed up early and mucked out a stall or two before it was time to start my lesson. Clare is on vacation from school and I invited her to join me but the thought of a day in her pj’s was too strong so I left her home to sleep in and laze around while I had all the fun.
I wish I could describe the difference between riding Oso and riding Texas. Let’s just say that when you say “walk,” Texas kind of ambles. And to get Texas to trot if there isn’t anything around that would so motivate him (like the door or a gate and the chance of escape back to his paddock) then his trot is just as sleepy as his walk. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated his pace when I first got on him. Then, just staying upright was more my goal than seeing what kind of pace I could get used to riding. Really, in the beginning, Texas’ sleepy trot was as fast as I could imagine going.
Now, on Oso, there are all sorts of other things to think about: my legs, my seat, my hands, my elbows all come into play. There is so much to think about that I sometimes can’t imagine keeping it all straight in my head. Oso is a spectacular teacher. He slows downs and stops when I lose my balance or become too disorganized in my riding. He keeps his pace when I can keep myself together and focused.
My son, wise as he is at the ripe old age of 14, got to ride an old farm horse on his week at the farm. He rode bareback and experienced steering with his body and no reins. No helmet either, but Mom wasn’t around on this trip to question the wisdom of the farmer for putting my child on the back of a horse for about the first time without one. Now my son looks at me funny when I suggest that riding isn’t easy and there is so much I have to learn. “Riding is easy,” he told me on the day I picked him up to bring him home. “I can do it and I did it without lessons!” Ah, youth!
I hate to tell him but riding isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work for both mind and body. And while it may not be easy, it sure as heck is fun.
When I was younger, maybe more Clare’s age than Nick’s, I used to ride in the car with my parents and daydream that I was following alongside the car, mounted on a fast, black horse. (Suspend reality here, I beg you, for the in the daydreams of a 10 year old horse crazed city girl a horse would be able to keep pace with a car cruising along on the BQE — that’s the Brooklyn – Queens Expressway for you non-New Yawkers.)
Today, riding Oso was that 10 year old girl’s dreams coming true.