Yeah, that’s me today. OK, so it’s not quite that bad. I had a wonderful lesson yesterday, and I used muscles in my new-found dressage** position that I think have been in hibernation for, well, my entire life. My groin is on fire. And no, it’s not from a wild night with the husband.*** Specifically, my hip adductors have been lit on fire. Sadly, it was from just maybe five minutes of hanging those legs without stirrups in the dressage saddle and WALKING of all things. I am fairly certain that whoever dreamed up dressage-style leg placement actually brought it to life for use as a torture device. I am going to invoke the Geneva Conventions during my next lesson.
But I digress. So my lesson focused a lot on circles. Circles, circles, circles, those elusive real circles. I have come to realize my circle problem is pretty much entirely my fault.
My trainer had a most fantastic training ride on Ollie this week, and sent me photos and video to show how wonderful he was. He looked gorgeous! And he cantered circles like a damn champ. With me? We look like drunken sailors. Or drunken children.**** So given the fact that he can do circles with someone other then me, well- let’s think about that for a minute. So, I went into my lesson completely prepared to just canter a nice &*$?!@ circle already, and it took a few tries to really get it – I had to be reminded a few times***** to PUT THOSE SHOULDERS AND ELBOWS BACK and really keep that feel on the outside rein and SIT BACK. But once I got myself into that right position? Perfecto – there’s that circle.
Now today, I went into my solo ride thinking:
I was prepared to do those nice little circles again – especially since I had a former barnmate there watching me. So when it came time to canter, we of course had immediate disaster. In my quest for perfection, I immediately forgot how to
keep my shit together ride it correctly.
So we’re trotting, trotting, trotting circles. And I go past the gate and ask for a canter. There’s hesitation and it just doesn’t happen – and we keep going straight. Too much outside rein? Not a clear half halt preparation? I dunno. OK, try it all again. This time I ask for the canter coming around the other side of the circle, and no canter again. Instead, out pops a shoulder, and we TROT RIGHT OUT OF THE RING. One of Ollie’s favorite games, brought back to life! If a horse could laugh, he was definitely doing it right then. There’s a reason my new trainer Nicky calls him “cheeky.”
So we sulked back into the ring with heads hanging in embarrassment. I think Ollie was determined to not help me get it right until I helped myself in doing so. So we walked and regrouped, and I really tried to FEEL what I was doing. And I assessed I was still pitching forward when asking for the canter, and losing all feel. I needed to lean back and make myself feel like I was doing some kind of kama sutra move and make it happen. AND IT WORKED.
I’m starting to feel like I’m beginning to reprogram my brain into not swimming up Ollie’s neck, and instead being able to sit back and actually ride my beast effectively. It’s going to take some time to completely reset my brain, though – it’s as if I’ve been walking my while life like:
….and now I have to relearn how to walk like a princess. And anyone who knows me knows I am no princess.****** But someone hand me that damn crown – I’m certainly going to try.*******
* har har
** OK, so it’s TRYING to be a dressage position. Cut a newbie some slack, will ya? GOD.
*** That was Friday night.
**** Children probably shouldn’t be drunk.
***** “A few” translates to approximately 5,283. Plus or minus 10.
****** I have too much of a potty mouth.
******* Nah, I just wanted to make you look one more time and abuse these stars.