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April 20, 2017: Internship: More of the Same

Nearly every morning Karol and I begin our day by having a conversation – usually about centered riding related topics. These conversations last about an hour and are very intense. There is no small talk involved.

This morning we talked about the four basics of Centered Riding and how clear intent and grounding are basics but what materializes after the rider has grasped the four basics.

Karol told me (and I will never forget this) that all you need to teach someone are the four basics. In other words, keep it simple and keep it direct. Now at the same time, the instructor, or person in general, needs to keep themselves centered. And when things go out of wack, you regroup, and with a more clear vision, begin anew.

My lesson on Gabby today was not the best in terms of what I accomplished physically. We were working on circles. I was all over the place and so was Gabby. I got frustrated a few times but each time I took a moment and centered myself.

Now, in the past, I would have broken into tears and then left the arena. I have done this in real life more times than I would like to admit. Not, today. I instead regrouped, and the lesson continued. For instance, I became rattled because one of the other students came into the arena before her lesson, in order to ensure that her lesson would begin on time. This was a little bit unnerving. I wanted to use the entire arena. And so did my horse who twice wandered out of the area we were riding in. Good going Gabby.

What you as a rider do when making a left hand turn is this – you extend your left hand, thumb outward, keeping your elbows at your side. You bring your right shoulder in and put weight on your right seat bone and leg. Elbows must remain heavy, yes heavy. Hands too, must remain an equal distance apart. It is also most important to remain vertical. Karol says “praise verticality.”

I was able to reiterate what it is you do when making a left-hand circle because tonight Karol gave me a living room lesson, one that lasted for a couple of hours. At one point she had me holding a tray with a dog’s ball on it – I was to walk in circles without dropping the ball off the tray. The most important thing was that after a while I gave up on being tense and began moving in a freer fashion. And when I did this, the learning became quite easy. This, I now know, is what I should be doing when I am riding a horse.

Karol’s been amazing, giving me so much of her time. And she wants to continue to work with me, maybe online. She and Susan Harris have been assisting me big time in moving forward, which if you have read previous dispatches, is something that I as a horseback rider have always been concerned about.

So tomorrow we all go to Vermont, first for the Saturday Sally Swift celebration and after, for the four day update clinic. I will both have a good time and get to meet Mary Trafford who has been my email pen pal for a long time. We are also doing the creativity workshop together next weekend. Gulp. I have not yet begun to prepare for this. So when the time comes, I will be doing seat of my pants teaching. There are a few big challenges left on this trip. But, so far so good.

Next: 111. 4/21/17: Internship: More of the Same

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