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June 5, 2015: Moving Forward: Spring/Summer 2015 Lesson #1

After being stuck, stuck, stuck for so many years, I am finally moving forward. This is not at the steady pace that I originally envisioned, but rather in leaps and bounds. This is happily unsettling. What I had hoped for, I now see coming into being. I pushed on doors and they are opening. This metaphor is working for me.

What brings this to mind is that I had my first equitation lesson today with June Snyder. She came to our place and gave me a private lesson. There was no jockeying for the attention of an instructor, something that always seems to me to happen when I’m in a group

lesson. I have always been of the mind that a group lesson is better than no lesson at all, but also have increasingly of the mind that private lesson is better than a group lesson.

The main drawback for me, of group lessons, is that I literally have to position myself in such a way in the arena as to get needed feedback. This is difficult because my depth perception is such that in doing this, that I perceive myself as being in the way of the other riders. I get tense, I get stressed, and very little is achieved. I then have to content myself with a pointer here or there. I badly need individual and instantaneous feedback. Today I got it. This was both exhilarating and tiring. I felt after like I worked really hard, and I think so did Raudi.

June helped me get Raudi ready for the lesson by assisting with brushing her and tacking her up. Raudi really warmed up to her, as have Jenna and Rainbow. Hrimmi just kept dancing around and seemed to be saying “pay attention to me, me, me.” When she didn’t get it, she began banging on the gate. Pete materialized and took her for a walk.

My lesson took place in the horse pen. I am glad that we have this space, though a larger arena on firmer ground would be more preferable. Riding in this space took me back to when I first began riding Raudi, who I then called the little red rocket. Neither of us knew anything – now we know something.

June assisted me in working on my seat, both on and off the lunge line. It would not have gone as well if Raudi did not already know how to move in a circle on a long line, which is what lunging is. We worked on many things, me taking in what June said and in essence translating it into what I best know, that is the language of centered riding. June’s release the knees is dancing knees. June’s relax the lower back drop your alligator tail. Putting weight in the ankles is find your bubbling springs. Tie a helium balloon to your head is just that – add to this lengthen my spine by envisioning water gushing up my spinal column and out of my head. June’s tube of toothpaste imagery was also Beth’s imagery, to be used when jumping. Like June, both Beth and Jim Briggs repeatedly told me to squeeze with my legs when going over a jump. And when I did this, Raudi went over the jump.

June repeatedly had me stand in the stirrups – when I also did as she asked, and released my knees, my weight dropped to the soles of my feet, and I was better able to maintain my upward balance. But repeatedly, I fell back into the saddle. When trotting, I repeatedly pictured the centered riding air cushion under my butt.

It was a lesson that was increasingly upward spiral. We began with Raudi being pacey, but by the lesson’s end she was trotting consistently. And, her whoas were quite good, some not as quick as I’d like. As if reading my mind, June notes that sometimes in training that horses don’t immediately stop when being asked because they are now getting differing body awareness related messages. But she did stop when I engaged my core and exhaled.

My biggest challenge is going to be getting my upper body to remain still when the horse is on the move. I was not aware that this previously was a problem – but it was.

Didn’t use a crop at all. This alone was an accomplishment. No nagging going on.

This was also a long session for Raudi, who after let it be known that she’d had enough, by getting away from me and going for the grass. As she said, “a horse can only take so much . . . .” After, I took Tinni for a trail ride and practiced what I learned. I was not kidding when I told June that I could do this all day.

Next: 149: 6/6/15: A Big Horse Day

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