Friday, June 15, 2012

Old Joints and Ponies

   Some days are just better than others, and this was one of those days. I got it now. What a fantastic teacher I have. The last couple of lessons I have saddled Lightning and mounted while in the stall. Mounting’s no more problem now that I realized it’s like vaulting a fence to get up—lower that center of gravity! But Paula has had me get into the saddle properly there, and also had me practice moving the horse sideways. I didn’t really realize it was even possible before.
   So this time when we went to the arena I did the lunging, which means I had Lightning on the halter and had her walk, trot and canter in circles. “Hands down!” was my command this time—especially with the whip that signals her to change pace or keep going. So round and round she goes with me turning with her. I used to just get dizzy when I did that. No more.
Oh yea, I am riding English Saddle too
   But that’s just warm up and the great part was riding and at last learning how to properly turn the horse! It sounds lame especially since I’d been turning her every lesson. But it’s not lame, it is a bit complicated to coordinate hands and feet (and stay sitting properly!) It has to do with that “make her go sideways” movement along with hands held properly. Paula basically grabbed my hands and said “Hold them like this,” which was pretty damn effective. I became acutely aware of my hands and managed to almost always hold them in the right place. And at the same time to do the right thing with my feet—get Lightning to pivot around the corners. And it went right!
   So I was riding in circles and oblongs and long rectangles with rounded corners and then even weaving between obstacles and holding my hands and feet right and sitting back in the saddle and damn but I could feel that everything was done just right. Yow! I have said that when I’m doing things right with Lightning and we are working together and I’m just gently guiding her to do what she wants to do in the way I want it done then everything is just perfect. And by “perfect” I mean that I feel right on the horse and then I feel like the whole damn cosmos is just perfect. Everything. It is exhilarating and if I wasn’t relaxed and breathing just right so that Lightning snorts with pleasure too then it would take my breath away.
   It wasn’t until I got back into the car that I realized I’d spent the whole lesson off the lunge line! Like, no strings attached to my dear teacher! And learning how to turn properly! A fantastic part of my wonderful day.

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