I stood, somewhat grimly, at the doors of the arena. It was Saturday, and I didn’t know what my answer would be to the question: ‘Who do you want?’
I had ridden Rebel on the previous Thursday. We hadn’t had a lesson on Tuesday, due to Paddy’s Day, and after having felt so successful on Morris, I felt I could ride Reb in a private lesson. I felt I had to, had to eradicate the memory of that rotten day, and that reckless buck-and-run. I talked about it throughout the lesson, and it reinforced the wisdom of talking about my experiences with experienced people, and I got this nugget that I hope to remember as necessary: you never stop learning with horses. Even if — when! — I have my own horse, anything could happen, the horse changes, I change, and that it’s a learning curve that is always… curving.
Nevertheless… I wasn’t all that sure that I wanted to ride Rebel that day.
Amigo was offered. I hesitated, and was reminded that I’d had a good go on him the first time I’d ridden him. In my mind, I thought, Yeah, well, the second was a disaster, and the third time wasn’t much better… But I said yes.
It was if the Seat Fairy had gifted me with a new bum, and by extension [ha, ha], new legs.
I got up there and we started to walk and it was as if I’d never had any difficulty adapting to his long, lopey gait. He swung forward, and I swung with him, taking the lessons I’d learned on Morris and applying them to Amigo: I didn’t work too hard, I didn’t push with my seat, I sat light in the saddle, I had my legs on, and moving, with his stride.
It was WONDERFUL. He’s a bit slow to start — in fact, I think he was sleepwalking all the way down from the barn to the arena — but once we got going, I was solid, yet free, moving smoothly in the rising trot, turning him in beautiful 20 metre circles — and he listened to my leg! Both of them! Bliss!
I had had some trouble in the sitting trot preceding the canter, but not so this day. Down, leg back, and off we went, and what lovely canters they were. I was secure enough to begin to make the adjustments that have been called to me from the ground lately: shoulders back, back straight yet flexible in the lower, heels down down down, leg on for inside bend…
I left the yard that day renewed. Seriously. I had found my seat on a horse that listened to me and wanted to go. I felt like I had really ridden, not just waged a war with a horse that grudgingly did what I wanted when he wanted to do it. And the stronger I get, in my seat, in myself, the more likely that I’ll be able to ride Rebel better the next time… whenever that may be…