What’s the big deal, you wonder?
It’s only an auld piece of paper…
Well, what happened was: we had a flat lesson in the upper arena. I am well over any fear of William losing what’s left of his sanity up there — famous last words, but ‘from the brain to the rein’. I have decided we’re okay and we’ve been okay.
Plus, we were up at the upper part of the upper arena, where the scary coloured-y jump standards live on the other side of the fence, as well as wandering members of the herd.
Not a bother on us.
Then our instructor told us to take our stirrups away, and lean forward as she tucked a piece of paper under our seats. The exercise: canter, without stirrups, around the arena, throwing in a circle, and don’t lose the paper.*
Hmmm. I’d had the pleasure of cantering William without stirrups or reins, and despite the potential distractions (from the outside world and the inside of me) I reckoned we’d give this a decent go.
We were the only pair in the lesson who managed it. On both reins.
It felt like it deserves a place of honour**, so:
What I learned, apart from the fact that I can sit deep enough to hold on to a piece of paper with my arse, is that the transition down was the trickiest part — I’ll be directing my attention in that direction over the next few lessons, with or without stirrups or paper.
It’s so satisfying because after Cathal, William has the fewest fans, and I love it when we do a thing well.
On the downside, it wasn’t cash money — I understand that fivers are often used instead…
*DISCLAIMER: I did not do as well when we had the paper between our calves and the side of the horse. Nobody’s perfect!
**Eh, I’m not keeping it there, but I am keeping it.