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April 12, 2017: The Horse Life: Internship Day #1

Being in one place for a while is different than being in one place for a short while or traveling because when you’re travelling you are on the move. You meet someone, you look at something, you move on. Being someplace for a while, you interact with people, you get to know them and the place they reside in.

I did a great deal of travelling when I was younger. Now I’m going places and staying there for a bit. Now, doing a Centered Riding internship in Schenectady New York – I can spell the word S-c-h-e-n-e-c-t-a-d-y, but if I had not become familiar with this word I would stumble along, and maybe even consider not using it.

It’s as if I am going back in time – went to school in this area, right down the road in a manner of speaking – now I have gone full circle. I’m back here. Little things remind me of a few good years – the rolling hills, the trees, the mannerisms and accents of the people who live here – and there are horsey doings and horses.

I am of the belief that at some point in our lives we want things badly. If we don’t get what we want, we move on and we will eventually attempt to go back and get it (lost cell phones included). So I have come back to where I once was in time – my post-Cobleskill years, and after. Upon graduating I took a different path; I went to college in NH and got an English degree. I didn’t think at the time that I’d ever do anything horse related agian. I took the path least followed to the near end. And here I am, back on the old path. This is partially happenstance. I came back here last year to do the creativity clinic. I liked it here, so I am now back here again.

We see our lives as being linear because we see time as being linear. We may age in a linear fashion, but we go back in time, and if need be, pick up on the old path. The hitch is that we who have been on the other path or paths are the second time around wiser and bring more to the experience.

I had a great day. I talked at length with the barn farrier, Mike, who so reminded me of Josh in his and/also attitude about shoeing. I also watched the veterinarian float teeth and give vaccinations. Was like Dr. Wellington, who turned it into a production, what with the water buckets and rinsing the mouths and making us little charts. I also cleaned a barn – swept and reorganized – made me feel grounded.

The high point of the day (really) was a lesson. I was not expecting any lessons, but was offered the chance to ride Gabby, a Haflinger. Like Icelandics, Halflingers are of northern descent. They are both stoic, but let their ideas of things be known. I instantly fell in love with this horse, which put up with my initial fumbling and ineptitude. I was a bit apprehensive before getting on her, and maybe for the first five minutes in which I rode her. But I became increasingly more confident as the lesson progressed. She reminded me of Hrimmi – round, easy to sit on.

I started riding by the seat of my pants, like at home – can’t explain what I mean by this except to say that my seat felt secure and I felt okay about using a lot of leg on her. I also threw in a few up up ups when I wanted her to get going.

My lesson centered on using the reins – lifting the inside rein to get her going – this, I was told later by Karol, the other instructor/barn owner – keeps the rider from collapsing. This focus, on rein use, worked well for Gabby and me. It was not as though I was lifting it a smidgeon, as would a dressage rider, but lifting it in a pronounced fashion. Maybe that is seat of the pants riding.

At one point Sally, my instructor, asked me if I wanted to trot. I told her to give me five minutes. But just a few minutes later, I felt my energy rise, and Gabby’s energy level rise, and we were off. I know a few tricks one of which in the arena setting is to ask for trot when heading toward the exit and also ask the horse to turn before arriving back at the exit. And, additionally, ask the horse to whoa midway back to the start point. Gabby knew that I knew a few tricks and was okay with this.

Sally was very complementary – that helped. I am relieved as I write this (very late at night) because I wasn’t sure how this first day would go. Fortunately, Sally and Karol and I are on the same wavelength about most everything, so the first day of my magical vacation was, well, magical.

Next: 103. 4/13/17: Internship: Day #2

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