This morning I came into my lesson somewhat hesitant. I was thinking that perhaps this would be my last lesson. After all, there are some new things starting up in my life and would I have time and money to continue doing this? Thus far I’ve already learned so much about the sport and myself, it wouldn’t be a bad place to stop.
I rode Marigold again. This time we were in the larger area instead of the small corral. I was asked to walk her all the way there by myself. In the beginning time of my riding her, she did was is called a “shy” and it totally freaked me out for a moment. It’s basically similar to when we cringe out of fear at something that seems to pop out next to us. I thought I was going to be thrown off or something! It was fine though, it was just a dog that was running by. My teacher explained that if Marigold were younger, she would have probably reacted more strongly and then tried to go play with it too. Good times.
I was having difficulty keeping my body in the right positioning as she moved into a trot. My teacher kept giving guidelines: “strengthen your core,” “heels down, toes up,” “relax your back,” “look where you’re going,” and so forth. It was hard to keep track of everything that she was saying. At one point I somewhat gave up and just tried to feel what I needed to do. Then she mentioned that I was slouching. Oh boy.
Then something shifted. As I became more comfortable with the trotting, I went back to what we call “airplane mode” – where I let go of the reins, let go of holding onto the saddle, and just put my arms out to the sides like an airplane. Once I did this, everything just started shifting into place. I was bouncing up and down less on the saddle, naturally balancing and adjusting more, and just overall more at ease. My teacher then started mentioning that I should start thinking about getting a pair of boots and my own helmet. That soon I would also learn to start riding bare back. Wow, she thinks I can do that already? That’s pretty cool.
Another reminder that it’s precisely when you let go that things flow more easily. Instead of trying to figure it out or control it. Part of my fear of continuing this is also because I still don’t exactly know where it’s leading me – and I’m learning to be ok with that. I’d been so used to years of trying things that continued to dead-end, and this year that seems to be changing with the new job, and now this. I feel invited to continue to give this a chance, and really to give myself a chance to see. I am finding I only have enough clarity to continue, not what continuing will lead me to – and that is enough for now.
Last week I missed my weekly lesson since I was out of town visiting a friend. Today we got right back into it though. I got to ride a different horse named Marigold. She was smaller than the other horses (which I actually appreciated since I’m small myself) and a beautiful whitish gold color. My instructor told me that I was going to ride her today, as it’s easier to make her go. I’m trotting more now so this is helpful.
I loved how as I was cleaning her hooves, she automatically raised them as I came around (after the first one at least). Then when I got on, I was worried about falling off because it seemed like she was leaning around so much when she walked.
Well we got into the corral area and my instructor was right! I barely had to do much in terms of nudging her to get her to go. In fact, just a little more squeezing on the legs made her start a trot almost right away. Today I was able to ride without my instructor holding the rope that connects the horse to her. I don’t know what it’s called, but it helps her to steer the horse if I can’t.
This post isn’t going to be long compared to the other ones. The two things that really stuck out to me were what I noticed at the beginning and what I experienced at the end. What I noticed in the beginning was Marigold’s color. What struck me at the end was when I said “thank you” to her, she leaned in toward me, lowered her head in a nodding motion as though she was saying “you’re welcome.” We stood there together for a little bit. I had read somewhere that you shouldn’t go up to a horse and try to pet its head first; instead you should let it come to you, and then go from there… so that’s what I did and then Marigold licked me. It felt extremely affectionate to me. Something connected between us that I can’t even explain but it definitely made my day.
I got a note from http://thecasualphilosopher.wordpress.com/ that I had received this award. First of all, I didn’t even know that WordPress awards existed. From what I’m seeing, they are little nuggets that bloggers send to one another to encourage continued writing and sharing. The only sentiment that continues to echo within me is a big aww to be welcomed into this family.
I’ve always loved writing; it practically feels like breathing to me. I had paused for quite some time – with some erratic spurts here and there – after some experiences that left me in a state of sharing remorse. It’s taken me a while to get out of my shell again and I have been thoroughly taken aback and humbled by the small but significant welcomes, comments, etc. It means a lot more to me than you may know, dear reader. Thank you.
Well, from what I understand I am to nominate other blogs as well for this award. These are folks who through their responses to posts (likes or otherwise) have encouraged me to keep adventuring along: