Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getting Back Into Gear...

Making Up After  Many Conciliatory Carrots
My trainer has been in Florida showing for the past month.  She's back now, and I just had my first lesson.  Ugh.  That about sums it up.  Ugh, and maybe an eek and an ow as well. 

Thankfully it was a group lesson, so there were others who could take up my trainer's attention and take some of the pressure off of me.  I'll be honest, I was expecting something a little on the easy side, something that was cognizant of the fact that we'd all given our horses and ourselves some time off.  I cannot begin to even describe how off base my expectations were.

Perhaps the most awkward (painful, humiliating, and humorous are also adjectives that come to mind) part of the lesson was when my trainer asked us to drop our stirrups and post the trot. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!  Needless to say, stirrups were dropped, and off I went, valiantly attempting to comply, only to hear, "We're posting now, Amy."  To which I replied, "(Gasp) I...AM...(gasp)...posting!  Can't you...(gasp)...see my....ass...leaving...the...(gasp)...saddle?"

"Oh," she says, "I thought that was just bouncing."  I collapsed in a helpless heap of laughter and my mare decided to take that opportunity to come back to the walk, no doubt thankful I was no longer thumping down on her back like a sack of potatoes. 

It was at this point that my lesson mate and I helpfully volunteered the suggestion that a defibrillator and an oxygen tank might be good additions to have in the ring.  My trainer does have quite a few of us "lady" riders and we do need to keep safety top of mind at all times...

As if the no-stirrup debacle wasn't ugly enough, we then did a bit of jumping.  Now, Sugar is a very forgiving mare, but the hellacious thumping she'd just endured during the posting incident left her a little less forgiving than normal.  Off we went to the first fence and let's just say I rode the brakes the entire way.  She objected, shaking her head as we approached the fence and upon landing.  "Relax your elbows and go with her -- let up on her mouth," said my trainer.

Easier said than done.  I could not for the life of me grasp the "let go" concept, and Sugar objected strenuously, with head shaking, crow hopping, and at one point coming to a complete stop to turn her head and look back at me with a, "What part of Let Go do you not get???" look on her face.  I finally manages to relax and let go of her face for one fence, and we wisely called it a day at that point.  I made it up to Sug as best as I could with lots of treats and a nice massage.

Our next lesson was a bit better, but let's just say it looks to be a looooooooong road back.  Sigh.

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