Typical disarmament, I thought to myself. The old check-rein of nerves insinuating its way into a galvanized me. I thought, You can't ride her like you ride that schoolmaster. There, the conditions are artificial and rigged for success, aren't they? Don't test it by riding in the real world.
But the Saturday after Lesson 6 was beautiful and I just had to know, so I went to the barn. The first thing I did when I tacked Saxony was remove the knee blocks from my dressage saddle. The saddle I've been using during the lessons rides like a close-contact saddle and I love how my leg and seat respond to it. Liner note: Where practical, minimize the middleman between horse and rider as much as possible.
At the mounting block, she stood motionless. I've worked on training her not to walk off, but it hasn't quite reached Golden Rule status in her mind. But she stood like a statue there because that's what the schoolmaster does, so I wasn't expecting anything else. Liner note: Where possible, believe in and expect the desired outcome.
After walking a few strides, I dismounted and lowered my stirrups two holes. Oh, they'd felt awkwardly short to my newly-lengthened leg. Statue-like again, Saxony waited for me to remount. We walked the fence line of the ring. The stirrups were still too short. I had to question whether it mattered that much, but I dismounted and lowered them another hole. That's when I knew my laziness wouldn't trump my desire to learn, to better myself in my relationship with my mare. Liner note: Best to go to school when you're ready and willing to let yourself learn.
Riding her offered a kind of multi-tiered revelation. My long leg let me feel her in ways I hadn't so far - hadn't felt her or any other horse, for that matter. I felt how unbalanced she is, how right-handed she goes, her bracing when moving to the left. I put her on a straight line right through the middle of the ring and she rippled her way across, warping each stride just a hair under me. I was aware of that happening. I felt my mare and she felt me. This is what my lessons have given me. Liner note: Lots of good forward walking will do wonders for both of us.