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October 9, 2018: Gabby et al.

I spent a better part of the day watching Karol give lessons. Being the good student that I am, I took copious notes. I might not ever again refer to them, but writing things down solidifies things in my mind.

My favorite horse here at Hillcroft Stables is Gabby, a 14 hand sorrel Haflinger mare. I have always liked her size and also the fact that she is not overly reactive. Additionally, this mare, like Raudi, is opinionated. If she doesn’t agree with one’s proposed idea she will roll her eyes back and twitch her lips. Gabby is also very talkative. You go by her stall and she begins nickering.

I went into her stall last night – I could tell that she knew who I was. She first gave me the stink eye, just to let me know that I had previously dissed her by leaving. Then shortly thereafter she gave me a more enthusiastic greeting.

Lately, Rita the librarian has been riding her as has Karol, her owner. I was pleased to see that Gabby looked so good. Her coat was the color of a shiny penny, and her wavy mane had been nicely combed out. In her lesson, Gabby moved calmly and with great deliberation. I was reminded that Gabby was still Gabby when in coming around to where we were all sitting, she slowed down and stopped. And she did this repeatedly.

Sally & Karol do agility

I did want to ride Gabby, but of course it would have been impolite of me to ask. Karol had been giving lessons all afternoon and really did not need to be giving yet another one. But Sally, as if reading my mind, offered. I couldn’t help it; I immediately nodded my head, which was my way of saying yes, yes.

I like Karol’s teaching style. She’s very focused and no-nonsense. She indicates exactly what needs to be done but in a way that motivates one to do as suggested.

This time, unlike in the past, I felt self-confident. This is how these days I generally feel when I ride. So as I do at home, I mounted Gabby and had in mind that I’d own my own movements and assist this horse in doing the same.

My energy level was high, and this did get in the way of my following through with Karol’s instructions. I was reminded of the times in which when writing I had a good number of ideas and therefore wasn’t able to elaborate on any of them.

I had a hard time connecting the dots – moving my core, shoulders, and hips in unison. I went from focusing on one to the other. But no matter, Karol told me that this will come in time. I caught phrases – don’t pull the inside rein, maintain rein contact, don’t throw your reins away.

I dismounted thinking that all I want to do is ride. And I so enjoy taking lessons, in part because I love learning and in part because I don’t have a home-based instructor. And I so enjoy riding northern breed horses, most of whom are less reactive than their larger counterparts.

It appears as though I will again ride Gabby in a lesson tomorrow. Tonight I’ll go over my notes and further internalize what I was taught today.

I am enjoying being here. But at the same time, I’m looking forward to a quiet winter at home, one in which I can continue to make the horse/human body awareness connection. I feel like being here, and then being at home is like jumping from rock to rock in my attempts to cross a creek.

Next: 283. 10/10/18: Being a Guest

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