As I scaled the heights of Mt. Samson (we used the mounting block), I had Hiliary’s recent riding videos of me very much in mind. If nothing else, I was going to keep those heels down. Or try to.
Jamie was there to help. And help turned into a lesson. Which is good, because I need all the lessons I can get.
We tried this once, a long, long time ago. I recall being on one of Jamie’s horses and having everything from Xenophon to George H. Morris presented to me in less than two minutes. I felt like an old Star Trek computer that short-circuited and threw sparks and made smoke because it was receiving data too fast from some super-speedy alien computer. I dismounted with a headache.
Jamie has come a long way as an instructor. The average male brain is capable of processing only one instruction at a time – at the very most – and this has to be repeated multiple times. Language can be such an annoyance to us and it takes a moment or two before we realize that the irritating noise that is buzzing around in our ear is actually a form of communication intended – sometimes – to help us. I think she picked up on this over the years.
My main problem on Samson was that I kept bringing the right rein across the top of his neck to turn him to the inside. Jamie told me to stop it. “He’s a dressage horse, Dad.” I was instructed to use my outside leg to cue him.
So, I dutifully used my right leg to cue him for the turn.
And then, on the next turn, I brought the right rein across his neck.
Jamie told me to stop it. And I did.
Then on the next turn, I brought the right rein across his neck. Again.
Jamie told me to stop it. And I did. Again.
Then on the next turn, I brought the right rein across his neck.
Finally, I glanced down to make sure it was my right hand that was actually doing this and that my arm was still connected to my body. It was maddening. The Errant Hand and his accomplice, The Arm were doing what they wanted and were ignoring what my brain was trying to tell them. They just weren’t list…en…
Ah… so that’s what’s it like.
Apparently The Errant Hand was putting up some form of last-ditch resistance. A bitter-ender representing the final vestiges of male incorrigibility. The Hand was listening to my ego and not my brain.
I think I was enjoying that 19 hands of elevation just a little too much.
I thought Jamie might jump up there, grab a leg and drag me off Samson, but she was very patient. She calmly repeated the instruction as if each time was the first time. And the few instances when I managed not to bring my right hand across the horse’s neck was cause for celebration:
“Good job, Dad.”
“Now you’re getting it!”
“Way to use your leg!”
It was a good lesson.