June 08, 2010

Lessons on Divine

I started riding at Laurie's, of Quintessential Arabians, in February to get back into the swing of things and have a critical eye help me get my seat back.  Position is everything in riding!  In a picture of someone riding from the side you should be able to draw a straight line from your ear to the back of your heel.  Having not ridden much except led western trail rides, which is barely riding since the horses all just follow the one ahead of them and plod along, I felt like a mermaid at the tip of a boats stern!  But my riding has slowly improved over the past months and I have felt much more comfortable.  The phrase "it's like riding a bike" means the same as "it's like riding a horse", it comes back fast.  I started reins-free on a lunge line; I think my first time ever being on a lunge line in a lesson.  Laurie had me work on seat position and the dreaded sitting trot, the hardest gait to sit.  English riders usually choose to post to the trot for comfort but if you can master the sitting trot they your seat is solid gold.

It's now June and the past few lessons I have had with Divine have been, well divine!  Let me take you back to a lesson I had that my mother came to watch. My toes were sticking out, my heels weren't down very well and Divine kept throwing her head up and not listening to my aids.  I think I was confused in general, things had not re clicked in my brain, I was frustrated and heart broken.  Quiet hands and legs, subtle aids...these were memories of the past that I couldn't grasp in the present.  I seriously wanted to cry.  I was always a "natural" rider and I felt I had lost that somewhere along the line.  That was in April, now in June I feel much more the horsey self I've been in the past, it's back!

I still have a ways to go in correct position but the wall I hit a couples months ago is behind me.  Divine and I are riding together quite well.  I am trying to keep my legs and hands quiet except when giving her aids.  It's amazing how much is transferred from the reins of the bridle to the horse.  Not just instructions and aids but anxiety, confusion as well as happiness and calmness.  Anyone can ride a horse but to truly ride and to ride well is to be in tune to the horse and the horse to be in tune with you.  Only then can the harmony of riding a horse reach a level that some may describe as spiritual.  So until next time...just keep riding!

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