I had this vision of writing a post for each lesson or at least, each horse I ride. But, time got away from me. Shocking! So, I’m gonna attempt to succinctly sum up my horse adventures so far!
I’ve had several horseback riding lessons since my tacking adventure. I have gone beyond riding Dallas who was supposed to be my official training horse and instead I’ve ridden several different horses. Trust me, this is not an advantage. Sure, I’m learning how to be flexible and how to deal with different horse temperaments. But, on the flip side, I have to be flexible and deal with different horse temperaments!
The first lesson was with Dallas, though. It was pretty basic as far as first lessons go. My trainer, Myla, helped push me on the horse which is clearly going to be a theme for awhile. Myla was very patient and kind to me as she tried to encourage me to believe in myself; stating that she really wanted to work on my confidence. So, I learned some basic steering techniques and enjoyed it tremendously.
Sweet but large horse. Theoretically, that shouldn’t be a big deal since I am tall. That theory turned out to be wrong. Two weeks is just long enough to get scared about getting on the horse again. So, I was. This was by far the most traumatic moment in my horse adventure.
When it was time to mount the horse, I fake casually climbed the steps to get onto Mikey. I was about to put my foot in the stirrup and then anxiety kicked in. I said “I can’t do this!” and climbed down, quickly.
The fact that there were three or four people just standing there, watching, only heightened my anxiety. Seriously, why were they watching???
One of these people was my friend, Paige. That was no big deal. She understood and tried to help. But, one of those people was some random chick who was not so secretly judging me. Her look said it all as she looked at me like I was crazy. Yeah, that didn’t help.
Meanwhile, Paige tried to help. She told me to walk around a nearby tree and come back. I did as I was told. But, I could feel judgy lady watching me. When I came back around, Paige said “Ok, come on. Get on the horse!”
I knew what she was doing, but it was just making me more nervous. I told her that tough love wouldn’t work on me and because she is who she is, she immediately said “Just tell me what you need.” Or something like that. I gave myself a moment and then let Myla shove me on the horse.
Riding Mikey was a bit of an adventure, too, but mostly because I haven’t mastered the nuances of it all. Like when I pulled back while trying to stop him but instead, he went backwards because I had pulled back too far and had actually directed him to back up. Or when he randomly started walking and Myla had to explain to me that I had actually squeezed his sides so he was doing what I accidently told him to do. haha
I left that day, dreading coming back but, I did.
When I came back, I had been demoted to one of the smaller horses that Paige’s 8 year old daughter rides. But, I didn’t care. I was just glad I had less far to go to get on.
Amber was a sweet, slow horse who cooperated completely. I loved Amber. I even got to jog. This was Myla’s efforts to show me that I could do it. Unfortunately, that meant that I don’t get to do it again for awhile.
I also learned that I need more practice with putting on a bridle on…
The last few times I have managed to come weekly. And I found myself back on Dallas again the following week. That’s when she emphasized to me that I wouldn’t be jogging for a bit and apparently, Dallas is not a pleasant jogging partner.
Finally, last week was Roanie who I now consider a bit of a nemesis. Like the others, he knew that I was new and took complete advantage of it. Since my trainer was working with William, she told me to go ahead and practice more steering, reversing, etc.
I was kind of thrilled. I felt so capable and independent. But, what I didn’t take into account was that Roanie was also feeling capable and independent. What followed was an hour of Roanie doing what Roanie wanted. The only thing that he would consistently do for me was stop because that’s what he wanted to do, anyway. So, I envisioned me pretending like I was on my own little trail ride, albeit one that only involved a big circle. But, what I got was a frustrating battle of wills between me and a horse.
I wasn’t completely on my own, though. Paige and her daughter were in the ring and paused to give me tips, here and there. Myra’s assistant also came by to give me some advice. Once Myla got out there, she helped, too. With her help, I got it through my head that I wasn’t hurting Roanie or anything like that when I steered him. His head bucking and reluctance was him trying to (and succeeding, I might add) take advantage of the newbie. Anyway, even though, it was frustrating, I eventually got mad enough to take charge, Not raging mad, just determined mad. I started to get a handle on him, just in time to have to get off. (Yes, with the stairs!)
Clearly, there was some discussion because a couple of days later, I got a text, asking if William and I could have separate lesson times. She explained that Myla needed to be able to spend more time with William. But, I suspect that my unsuccessful solo mission played into that, as well. 🤣
Somehow, even though, it is challenging, discouraging, and exhausting; it always ends with a soda at the gas station, quality time with Paige and the excitement about going back!
I’m excited and apprehensive for tomorrow’s lesson but I take comfort in the knowledge that it will be an adventure, either way.