Head up. Chin parallel to the ground. Chest open. Hands in a triangle. Knees and thighs pressed in. Heels down. Toes pointed up. Look where you’re going not where you are.
Do all that at the same time…oh, and make that horse go forward.
Yesterday we braved the rain for horse riding lessons at Windmill Farm. In an indoor ring, thankfully. This is our first foray into a mother-daughter, quality-time activity that is chasing my daughter’s dream of being an equestrian. She’s 6 so dreams loom large and oh-so-graspable without consequence of time or cost. She was beaming when she got off Tootsie at the end of the lessons. My legs hurt when I got off K.C., but I had a great time.
Despite the amount of time horses have been in my life, I’m really not a very good rider. My teen years spent taking care of horses didn’t actually include riding. So on the ground, I’m an ace at reading ears and eyes and keeping control. Once I’m up on top, well… let’s just say it’s a long way to the ground.
My limited riding included lots of western pleasure rides and a week at Girl Scout horse camp learning to ride English. Two memories stand out from camp: 1) a horse got colic (didn’t know what that was but the instructor with the accent looked very frantic) 2) my horse jumped 3 feet to the right when another horse he didn’t like got too close. Being scared out of your mind kinda puts a crimp in your pole-bending.
Those first few instructions on form yesterday were more than I ever remember learning before. Maybe it’s because I’m older and can pay attention .
For a few moments I could do all those things and lead K.C. where I wanted him to go. I am an equestrian! And then my mind would wander….
The riding lesson reminded me a lot of my first few yoga classes. It seemed near impossible to control all those physical aspects at once, while maintaining focus on what I needed to do next. I’m sure with time it will become natural.
Right now my daughter and I are committed to 3 lessons. We’ll see if she’s still determined to be a collegiate equestrian after a few weeks. If she is, well, my updates may become pleas for you to support my business so I can afford her horse lessons.