This is the way I looked when I left the house today:
This is the way I looked when I got home:
All images metaphorical. I don’t ride in full dressage kit, but I was looking particularly spiffy in a white tank top, gray breeches, and cowboy boots. When I finished I had been stepped on (ow ow ow ow OW! GET OFF HORSE!), pushed around, then covered with dust, red gatorade, and horse sweat.
Despite the billion-degree heat, I’ve continued my riding lessons. I’ve switched over to Western for a couple of reasons. I wasn’t progressing with my English lessons, and in fact I was getting worse. I was also intrigued by the “new” Western riding style, which borrows elements from both disciplines. And after seeing the documentary “Buck,” and that awesome and elegant series of side-passes that Buck performed on his trusty horse, I realized that all of my arguments against Western had vanished.
I still have a long way to go, although I have a great instructor. In Sunday’s lesson, Carol had me side pass Missy along a ground rail, and with a few glitches we managed quite well.What was interesting to me is that I was able to give Missy the cues because I had internalized them a lot more than I thought I had and with a few exceptions she responded to my leg and hands. She’s a good little mare. Prior to taking Western lessons with her, I had ridden her English and she is not very happy with an English bit at all. And while she can jump, she doesn’t like it. She’s a different horse under a Western saddle.
Carol took a few photos because I am having trouble keeping from leaning to the inside. It was really illuminating, to see how much I lean in. I’m not showing you those photos, but take my word for it. Having the photos to refer was really eye-opening. With luck I can retrain myself fairly easily to keep straight and square.
Horseback riding always ungruntles me. I had a wonderful lesson on the sweet Missy, a chestnut mare with four white stockings and a white blaze. Down here they refer to the white markings as “chrome,” which I love so very much.
Missy is a well-trained Western mare who I ride English, and she is willing to take my cues even though it’s all so different. She has a very bouncy trot but I managed to get her into a sitting trot and it was comfortable and collected. She had her neck bowed very nicely for some of it.
We cantered and jumped a little, and poor thing. She’s really not a very good jumper. She sort of flings herself at the cross rails in a desperate attempt to get everything over. She’ll learn and she’s a good sport, but for right now, she’s like agh! Gotta get my legs and butt over this somehow!
I am set up for Aggiecon for the weekend and yes, I am looking forward to it. If you are going to be there, see you this weekend!