Here’s the thing you don’t realize if you equate horseback riding to guided trails on horseback, equestrian riding is HARD. By the end of the hour and a half of my lesson yesterday I was sweating, and my new trainer said she was going easy on me for my first day. Apparently, since riding in high/middle school I have lost my posture and leg strength. None the less, she said she could tell that I once was a “very pretty rider”, but had obviously gotten weak.
I showed up at the Tu Bahd stable early, since I didn’t realize that the drive to it from my house was only 10 minutes. This gave me plenty of time to look around, get to know the farm dogs and cats, and have a conversation with the random lady painting her horse’s stall an impressive mural. The conversation went pretty smoothly, until I told her I sold my horse when I was a teenager. To this she started crying. Not just crying, but holding onto me, sobbing and saying, “THAT’S JUST SO SAD!!” Who are these people?
My instructor finally got done with a group of preteen rider and we went to the office to sign my life away. Interestingly, right after signing the waiver, she asked me if I needed a helmet. I said, “yes”, thinking she meant, like, “you didn’t bring one of your own, so you need to borrow one.” But, then she says, “Oh, but we aren’t going to do anything too big of a deal, some cantering, little jumps maybe. You probobly don’t need one.” Um, yes, I value my brain, thanks.
I rode Bad Doc who was referred to as the “moped,” as in “we’ll try you out on the moped, and move you up to the Harley if you impress me”. Bad Doc isn’t forlorn looking (actually he’s a beautiful dark brown quarter horse), but he’s in his 20’s, and seems to be sick of the whole game. This was made clear by the way he kept bringing me over to the steps to get off. He’s won world titles though, so she has him trained within an inch of his life. Move your leg half an inch back and shift your weight, and he turns on a dime. I tell you this so you understand how my bad posture almost got my thrown off. I’ve been driving a manual car and wearing my purse on my right shoulder too much, so my right shoulder is off. This combined with a horse–at canter–through a right turn equals Erika almost thrown off as he tries to switch leads. Yes, I’m glad for my helmet.
At the end of the lesson I wasn’t sure how well I did, because it seemed like all she did was yell, “arms up…lean forward…pull your shoulders back…knees in…STOP WITH THE BALLET TOES.” Guess I didn’t do too badly since she told me I was good enough for the Harley. After the lesson we both rode around for awhile as the horses cooled down and chatted about how she bought the farm when she was 18 years old. I guess she took her college money and bought a bunch of acres and a rat infested trailer home. Her dad didn’t talk to her for 3 years.
When I finally got home three and a half hours later, I realized I felt incredibly happy. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday!