Greta was not eager to leave her new-found boyfriend across the fence that she had been flirting with all day... and that she had been constantly rejected by, poor thing. She gave out one last desperate whinny to Mr. Nick as I peeled her away from the edge of the pasture and up to the gate. She let out a big, forlorn sigh like that of a naive girl who thinks she had just caught sight of the love of her life and refuses to believe that it is not so! But nonetheless, Greta and I walked though the - finally! - mowed pasture and up to the shady spot of trees that I've begun tacking her up at so as not to get all gross and hot before we even begin riding. My very well-trained instructor (remember "Suzy" from the Introduction?) and her friend "Sally" along my riding buddy - who was interested in watching a rusty training-level rider and dressage-gone-polo-gone-dressage-again horse go for a first lesson together - sat under the trees at the picnic table very close by while Suzy helped me tack Greta up. I was a bit nervous about tacking up in front of her because I was afraid to be wrong of course, but as it turned out my only problem was how I adjusted the saddle and that I needed to put the saddle a bit further up on the withers. The real apparent problems would come later....
Now came the nerve wracking part: actually riding. Greta and I had worked together for about three-and-a-half weeks now, but that was just "getting to know you" time, without the song and dance most definitely. Greta was figuring out my version of aids and I was figuring out Greta' quirks and highlights. But now we are both on the same level in that we are both relearning everything we had just about forgotten: riding dressage.
So the list of grievances concerning my riding is as follows:
- I need to work on keeping my knees glued to the saddle and, according to Suzy, she "shouldn't be able to see any air beftween my knees and the saddle" which was followed from me by a nervous "Yes, ma'am!"
- It's okay to post, I don't need to be sitting the trot everywhere I go.
- Greta now realizes that the gate usually means "time to go," so if she wants to be done then stopping at the gate should do the trick, right? Yeah... no.
- Greta likes to stop once she realizes I actually am starting to get what I'm doing. Once again: yeah... no. Otherwise, she transitions beautifully!
- I don't need to be leaning back so far in the saddle. Really, I'm trying to impersonate what I see my favorite riders do, and once again, except it's me this time: yeah... no.
- When I stand up in the stirrups while posting, my legs stick out like I'm trying to do the splits. At least my hands stay still!
- I lose my stirrups way to easily. Psh, who needs stirrups anyway?
- Greta will get on the bit once I'm seated right and using my legs right! Thank goodness we don't need temporarily try a martingale, I couldn't bear to do that.
- My seat in the canter and walk is excellent (those are the easiest gates to balance in for me). At the trot, not so much.
- Greta and I are both well-trained, we just need some major refreshers. Like good teeth that had a blue slushie: it needs some really good mouthwash.
As for the Essay on LDR: it has some kinks, I know. But it's just a voiced decision on how I want to participate from here. Really. And a voiced opinion as well (well, couldn't you tell that at least?)
Happy trails ;)
Photo by JEM Photography