My Mother in Law and I finally had our first riding lesson together! It was great to have an accountability partner to get me out of bed and down to the stable. Even though riding is one of the best parts of my life, something about leaving a nice warm bed to do something outside in the brisk winter chill just takes a little extra oomph.
Max and I were a mess. A cute mess, but a complete and utter mess. Let me preface our mess narrative by saying that we haven’t had a real ride in years and we’re still getting used to our new saddle. We hadn’t trotted in the new saddle before this lesson. After ending up flat on the ground in my dressage saddle, and feeling even less balanced in an AP saddle, the Australian saddle gives me more security and confidence. I like that there’s more saddle around me instead of just under me. Even so, it’s made of harder leather and it’s a size bigger than I’m used to, so it’s a different feel for my seat.
Our teacher had us try a trot. Max tossed his head and jigged side to side, but he kept a pretty slow pace for me. It was still super scary because his little jigging and head tossing can switch into a bolt in a second. I ended up needing a lot of encouragement to keep him going. I still have flashbacks of him bolting and me falling off. My teacher pointed out that he knew he just had to toss his head and stop himself a few times to make me shut down so he didn’t have to work.
She kept on us, though, and got us to trot in circles around her both ways. She even had us trot down a line of cones. It really wasn’t pretty. I felt my legs splay out in ski position and I felt like I was just leaning on his mouth, but we made it. I remember how nice it was to be able to sit back and have a nice relaxed trot. I know we’ll get there again with work. I really needed that ground person to have eyes on him and reassure me of what to do.
It’s weird that just trotting in a circle and down a line of cones feels like such an accomplishment. I think the time off from riding together has just slipped by until it turned into years. It feels like we haven’t had much time off, but it has been a long time. I’m excited about getting back into it and being able to just have a relaxed and steady ride together.