I Rode ____… and I lived to tell the tale.

February 24, 2011

Today was very eventful. I felt like I ran a million horsey errands. It was intense!

I finally arrived at the barn around 4:00. My trainer, Charlene, was giving a lesson at 5. So, I waited around and got all my tack and such together. When she came back, we discussed Fred’s med schedule and doses, and then fed the horses. Then came lesson time.

I decided to ride with her son and Maddie, the owner of Red, whom I took a lesson on recently. They are nine years old and easily “intermediate” riders, so I felt like they would be good to ride with. I got Fred out and did the usual routine and tacked him up. We walked towards the arena and as we hit the entrance, a horse neighed from outside. Fred stopped dead in his tracks and his eyes got huge. He would not budge. I took that as a cue to let him run around in the arena, so I fixed up his tack to be able to do so and let him in to run around. He chose to just walk back and forth by the gate. I walked in and went down to the back doors. He kept his eyes on me and watched me pat the doors and stand there comfortably. He then started to relax. I walked back up to him and then he started to follow me. We walked back to the doors and he walked past them without hesitation. I was not leading him, to give him the choice, just letting him follow me.

So, then I got on and rode with the kids. Fred was great. He was very well-behaved. As he has been lately, he has turned western and barely wants to go forward. I have to push the hell out of him to get him to even move forward. I did a lot of trotting work with him. My legs were much more solid today than they were yesterday. My calves were 75% steadier, my thighs were burning, and my legs weren’t in front of me; they were actually lined up where they should be. So, I felt much better about my ride. Yesterday, I was a bit bummed because my lesson on Red had gone so well but when I rode Fred my legs were all over the place. Today, they were not. So, that made me think more positively and I’m ready for my next ride! In a few months my leg will be solid!

The kids wanted to canter but D, Charlene’s son, wasn’t allowed to canter Rhythm. So, of course, I offered up Fred for the task. Charlene looked at me and said, “Why don’t you get on Rhythm, then?”  I think I almost died. Rhythm is one of the horses I’m a bit more fearful of riding. She, actually, is not bad. She doesn’t bolt or do anything stupid like Fred but she is super sensitive. If you turn your leg the wrong way she is leg yeilding, doing flying lead changes, etc. I am pretty convinced there is probably a “be a lipizanner” cue somewhere in there. So, I was pretty terrified. I’ve been telling all my barn buddies for quite a while that “I would be afraid to ride Rhythm.” and… what did Charlene do? Told me to get on Rhythm IN A CUTBACK SADDLE.

So, I got on. We walked a bit and trotted. She’s very powerful but smooth. She was goofy about the back doors but not doing anything dumb. All in all, I was pretty happy. It was still a bit nerve-wrecking, but I did something I wouldn’t normally do and I did not freak out. I kept my cool (besides my “OH DEAR GOD” faces) and rode her instead of hanging on her neck and tensing up. I only rode her for about 10 minutes but it was a good experience.

I’m starting to get more brave.

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