Sunday, November 20, 2011

Liner Notes Inside (Me)

I have been away from lessons for two weeks for moving back to the city and it will be a few more weeks before I resume them, but they have left an expected echo that could sustain me until I can get back.

Lesson Notes
After my sixth lesson, I realized I hadn't ridden Saxony since beginning the lessons. To be fair, she'd been recovering from an ulcer in her left eye, but that had healed by mid-October. It occurred to me that I was putting off taking her out because I felt so changed as a rider. What an odd thought, coming unbidden into my mind just when I felt exhilarated to be standing at a new verge as a rider.

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.


SMeagle said...

I believe it's true that we create our own reality. The trick is, making the brain let go of the old stuff we tell ourselves, to make room for what we want our world to be. Keep up the excellent liner notes.

Amish Stories said...

I'm visiting new blogs today for the first time, so i also thought id wish you a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your readers. And i hope that the day is spent generating positive memories for years to come. Richard from Amish Stories.

Corinna said...

Unbalance, unschmalance! You have a horse that stood like a golden girl for you while you mounted and unmounted. I'm celebrating the small victories with you! (Because truly, that is how I've had to approach the training of my newest little mare.)

And this one is a real keeper:
"Where possible, believe in and expect the desired outcome." Because then the horse will do his best live up to those expectations.


Muddy K said...

Richard, thank you for your very nice message. I appreciate it.

And Corinna, thanks for the perspective check. Loved what you had to say.

samihob said...

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