A few technical problems kept me from posting for the last two weeks. I didn’t like not doing it. And I had to postpone my riding lesson with Karin the week before. Didn’t like not doing that either. But, I’m back up – on both the horse and computer – and I declare the routine reestablished.
For Lesson #19, I found myself on Krystal, Karin’s Percheron-Thoroughbred. I think she’s around 19 years old. Krystal is a good girl, but from what Karin says, this was not always the case. She was quite a handful for her previous owner. She was pushy and ill mannered (the horse). And she rarely related to members of her own species without her ears being pinned straight back. Krystal was a surly adolescent who needed structure and discipline.
When Karin took Krystal in, she quickly established some boundaries with the horse. She also provided Krystal with a consistent routine which included pasturing with the same group of horses every day. With this stability, Krystal’s more obnoxious habits disappeared and Karin discovered Krystal’s Inner Sweetheart.
Krystal was very patient with me. Which was good, because I was more than a bit rusty after the lay-off. I was bound and determined to keep those heels down, no matter what else went on. The problem was that too much else was going on.
I got Krystal to trot without any problem. But I couldn’t keep her going because I kept inadvertently pulling back on the reins. Mainly because I was obsessed with my heels. Krystal naturally took this as “stop trotting” now. We repeated this pattern several times. And my feet came out of the stirrups altogether on more than one occasion. We just couldn’t get in sync.
There was no sense in me getting angry and frustrated with the horse. It would be like thinking there was something wrong with your car’s engine because the vehicle slows down as you apply the brakes. Imagine the conversation with the mechanic:
“Um … I think there’s something wrong with my transmission.”
“Why do you think that?”
“The car slows down when I apply pressure to the second gas pedal.”
Yeah, there’s something wrong with your transmission, all right. “No problem, I can take of that for you for $800.”
The Old Krystal would have rubbed me off on the arena walls. But she’s a good girl now and just kept trying. Although, we did end up in the middle of the arena too many times for my tastes. She seemed to gravitate toward Karin, whom she no doubt believed to be a better driver than her current one. Horses are attracted to people who know what they’re doing.
Rusty or not, it was good to get back in the saddle again. The word “routine” suggests something mundane and uninspiring. But I think of a routine as an organized and comfortable place where we can work on establishing good habits and eliminating the bad ones. The glory comes later.
Krystal would agree, I think.