Riding Diaries, Lesson 2: Trotter Up

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Today I got to be with Trixie, and we ran like the wind! The kind that blows at 2 mph that is. Nonetheless, I think my love affair with horses has officially begun.

When I arrived at the center, there was a horse that I noticed looking at me. Soon after I found out it was the same horse I was to be riding… I was able to take her out of her stable, groom her and get her saddled up. Trixie has this interesting habit of biting on the railing a lot, so we have to deal with her more gently. Something to do with the fact that she may have been wounded or something in the past. We just had to take care and be mindful when working with her. They really are a lot like us. No wonder this connection seems so strong.

Then we went into this round corral looking area for the first time, where I started learning how to turn her, stop, and so forth. At one point in the beginning, we got so close to the fence my instinct was to push my hand off the fence otherwise my leg would get squished – that didn’t go over so well. Luckily my instructor had the other rope so we were good.

I sit on an exercise ball most of the time at work and at home, and I’m finding that is proving to be useful here too. You have to be strong in your core area and grip with your thighs. Your feet need to be positioned with the heel more downward. For us females especially, we can have a tendency to want to curl forward and that apparently doesn’t do anything to the horse except literally make it go around in circles.

I kept wanting to look at Trixie and forget about the space ahead of us. It’s as though you are learning to drive and all you want to do is look at the steering wheel. She was so captivating though! Toward the end I was able to get better about stopping her, getting her to walk, and to turn. It’s the slight turns and adjustments that are going to take some getting used to. My teacher made a really good point – we are learning to control the horse but we realize we don’t even have control over our own bodies and how they react. Again, I’m learning a lot about this sport but even more so about myself… on a level I don’t even understand yet.

I asked my instructor how long it would take me to learn before I could go on one of those trips in Europe. Sounds so magical. She said a few years. A few years?! Okay, maybe this summer was getting a little anxious. She also looked at me somewhat funny when I told her that this experience was changing me somehow. That’s okay though, I’m learning a lot of other things from her and perhaps that is for my own personal reflection here and otherwise.

I thought that I would be in more pain since we picked up speed to a trot today. I actually left in less pain than when I started the lesson. This has been a major concern since the residual pain from my surgery has been lingering for some time. What an unexpected grace and gift.

I can’t wait until next time.

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2 thoughts on “Riding Diaries, Lesson 2: Trotter Up

  1. you did not ride with your stirrups that short did you? western is long legged, your in the jumping position and to do that in a western saddle is a disaster in the making. I found when I used to ride that if I ride with my legs down and without stirrups I sit deeper in the saddle and avoid the bad habit I had of pushing against the stirrups which pushed me up and out of hte saddle oh so slight but enough to feel like I would fall behind or fall off, lol. but this may not be a problem for you, everyone has something to work on including myself. pretty horse too.

  2. My instructor adjusted them after we took this picture. This was when I first mounted the horse during the lesson… I am still learning the whole proper stirrup length thing. =) It sounds like you’ve been riding for a while! I can’t wait to be there, but I’m also enjoying every moment of these first steps. Such an incredible experience.

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