About this blog

The original intention of this blog was to help promote my handcrafted jewelry and beading supplies. However, I believe I lead an interesting life (which Dave gets a lot of credit for), so you will often find ramblings about things other than beads and jewelry! Hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy living it!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

My First Horseback Riding Lesson!

On Saturday I had my first riding lesson with my neighbor, Jeanette, on her cutting horse, CC. I may have mentioned that I used to ride her old (he's about 27 years old now) palomino, Caesar, who was bombproof. I use the term "ride" loosely as he was much like a trail horse, and would follow the horse ahead or beside him. Needless to say, it didn't take much effort on my part, although my neighbor had given me a run down on the basics. I stopped riding when Caesar became lame and wasn't ready to step up to either of the other horses she had at the time. To make a long story short (or as Dave always says, with me it's making a short story long!), she's been asking me to ride again for some time, so I finally broke down several weeks ago and told her I would ride with her, but only if she game me some formal lessons. I decided that this time around I was also going to wear a helmet. While my cowboy hat would look a lot cooler, I like my brain just the way it is...intact! Unfortunately, I was never around horses when I was younger and started riding at a point in my life where reasoning and cold hard facts are part of decision making (like...being in the saddle is pretty far off the ground and falling off could really hurt me). Oh, how I envy those who started riding during that time in their life when you don't really know enough to be afraid!!! I have to say, I did feel a lot more at ease with the helmet. She started off by giving me some instructions on the basics like how you have to have movement before you can give direction and how horses move away from pressure. While this all makes sense, for me, it some times takes a bit to put theory into practice! Riding doesn't come natural to me...I have to think about my seat, remember to keep my hands still, my toes out and heels down. And for some reason, I want to use my thighs instead of my calves to give the horse it's cues! I also want to "drive" with my hands...it just seems more natural to give the horse direction by using the reins than by applying pressue with my calves. I've found that I have the same tendency in riding horses that I do in riding motorcycles...when making a turn or changing direction, I look at the ground directly ahead instead of in the direction I want to go (they tell you in the motorcycle safety class that you should actually turn your head in the direction you want to go, not just shift your eyes...theory is you will go in the direction your head is pointed and eyes are looking). As the lesson went on it became a little easier. I rode for about an hour, just at a walk (I didn't want to add speed before I had direction down to a science!) and did circles and figure eights. I also learned how to back up. All in all it was a good day. I was happy with my progress and my neighbor said I did well. I finished up with putting CC on the wash rack and hosing her down. I also finally learned how to put a rope halter on. I've seen them around the tack room, but could never make any sense of them. If I had to put a halter on one of the horses for any reason, I always looked for one with a buckle...very obvious how it goes on and is secured! Yesterday, my neighbor was taking Doc, her reiner, out for some exercise and asked if I wanted to ride CC. I figured, what the heck...a little more time in the saddle and it was just for a lap or two around the block. I used everything I learned the day before, and we actually trotted for a short distance. I was glad to find out CC actually has a very comfortable trot. My neighbor also had me do a little exercise to help enforce the theory of how the horses move away from pressure. As we walked down the street, which was a straight line as opposed to the circles and figure eights of the day before, she had me apply pressure with alternating legs to get CC to move back and forth across the street in a zig-zag pattern. It just seemed to make it so much more clear...maybe because it was easier to see and feel her respond while walking in a straight line than when going in a circle. I'm looking forward to the next lesson or mini trail ride. If the weather holds out, we may try to squeeze some time in after work this week, otherwise it won't be until the weekend. Jeanette actually has a cutting show she is entering on Friday evening. It's actually just a jackpot, but she wants to make sure she's tuned up and ready so I don't want my lessons to get in the way of that!

No comments:

Post a Comment