My 10th Riding Lesson! and the Hike

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I had my 10th riding lesson today! We went back into the smaller pen so that I could practice steering. This meant my instructor letting go of the rope that has connected her to the horse for the majority of the lessons so far. The task was to turn and change directions halfway around the circle while at trotting speed. Oh boy. My first several attempts just got me going in smaller circles around half the pen… great. We slowed down to a walk and I finally got a sense of the motions. Back up to the trot again, my turns were there but they were too tight – I would have to allow the horse to adjust to the first turn before then trying to get it to make the second turn. I got it though.

It was for the most part more nerve-wracking than thrilling, until I got the hang of it. The thought of my instructor letting go of the training wheels, so to speak, AND trusting that I could pick up speed AND turn was just beyond me. Yet her believing in me and nudging me on, affirming the moments where I did get it, were what pulled me through. At the end of the lesson she mentioned that some days are going to be great, and you’ll make progress for some time. Other days you just seem to not get anything right. That this is how it goes for every rider, to just keep going and not give up. Early in the lesson I wanted to give up, but she pressed me on and I am so glad she did.

After the lesson I joined a few friends for a hike nearby. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was a 1,040 foot elevation gain in 1.3 miles! About a third of the way up, I started feeling lightheaded and wasn’t sure I would be able to make it all the way. We paused, I asked one of the guys to take my bag (which barely had anything besides a water bottle but somehow was too much for me) and on we went. I haven’t gone hiking in quite some time by the way – probably last Fall. This trail was definitely no walk in the park.

Thankfully there was a breeze. A few adjustments were made that helped as well. I stopped looking too far ahead or up too much. This would overwhelm me, so I would just focus on the few steps ahead. I also found that being in the front of us three during the ascent somehow helped me not to be as tired. Perhaps because I felt like I couldn’t let the others down and that I was somehow able to keep a steady pace (my pace?). It was a good reminder in approaching life – that perhaps this is why we are not shown the long-term plan for our lives, because it would probably overwhelm us. We only can see enough to take the next step or two.

There was a cross when we arrived at the top. For the first time in my life, I really wanted to hug a cross! Breathtaking view. Coming back down was fine – it almost felt like flying for a few moments. I’m thankful to be able to have the physical strength to do these things again. I didn’t know if I ever would be able to after the major surgery a few years back. I feel like I am living a second life now – and it truly is a daily amazing adventure.

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