“Oh, Inky, do you always have to do that after every ride?”
“Hey, everybody poops! Now hurry up and get this saddle off me!!”
Tonight’s lesson was pretty good, but it was still hot, and about halfway through it, I was getting really depressed that I was still on Inky. She would hardly move again, and she was making me work for everything. She didn’t want to go faster. She didn’t want to get herself collected. She didn’t feel like being a “real” horse, she was acting like a nag-gy school horse.
I was trying to correct my riding, trying to collect her and get her “underneath” me, and meanwhile trying to figure out what I am going to do next in the overall scheme of things. I don’t like how the other people riding were on nice horses, ones that apparently wanted to work despite the heat, and they all looked beautiful. They were doing their jobs. I caught myself again saying how my horse, Dom, used to only need one small cue to canter, and he’d do it. I need to let that go. That was then, this is now. I don’t know how to resolve this issue; I want my own horse, but can I afford to have one? Could I afford to have it here? Would I be happy just riding it at home and hoping for the best?
My problem is partially that I think this should be super-easy for me and I should be riding top level horses by now. After all, it’s been almost two months! (that’s a joke). People work at this for years, and I am lucky to be this far. I can’t progress any faster, though, riding once a week, and next week I am going to be gone, so will miss my riding time.
I had Dorie shoot videos of me riding tonight, using my little point-and-shoot camera, which is really quite good at recording movies. As I reviewed the short clips, I thought some things looked okay, some things looked bad. But I also think I should cut myself some slack since it’s been 30 years since I rode seriously, and dressage is very different from saddle seat. Wayyyyyyy different.
I had to clarify once again the signals for cueing the canter. It is a lot more involved than how I trained my horse, but at least it is logical to me. When I cued Inky properly, she picked up the canter immediately. But that illustrated to me that there are all kinds of little things that I don’t know, and so I suppose I am not ready for a better horse yet.
I rode without stirrups for part of the lesson, and I am really happy that Dorie had me do that. It forces my body into the right place, and I always have been a better rider when I drop my stirrups. I sit more correctly, and I think I feel the horse better, communicate better with her. Could I have done this a few weeks ago. No. I was not ready for it then, but I did it easily and naturally tonight. I sure felt it later, though!
After a good 45-55 minutes of riding, the lesson ended, and I cooled Inky down. I was not ready to quit for the evening , but it was time to be done. I did the usual thing, ending with Inky in the wash rack getting hosed down, which she appreciated, as always. Soon, I found myself driving home in the deepening dusk, chasing a rainstorm north.
Rain glides across the wide open spaces between the Superstition Mountains and the San Tans.
It was a pleasant, calming drive home after a hectic day. On the way, I stopped farther up the road to get this shot. I saw it fleetingly as I passed it on the way home last week, and wanted to get it ever since:
I made it black and white because I wanted the subtle shifts in the colors of the clouds to stand out more. It was worth the wait to get this photo.
Another day of determined riding is over, and now I will have to wait another two weeks for the next opportunity. I am glad I will get to be on the road on the motorcycle next week, but even so, time keeps ticking away.