Movers and Shakers

After weeks on the fine Quarter horse ladies, Windy and Maree, Karin revs it up by putting Paul and me on Vinnie and Charley. A Thoroughbred and Morgan respectively. Lesson #50 was going to be a work out.

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We did the circle stuff, trotting & attempted posting and a little cantering. Karin even let Paul canter on Vinnie off the longe line.  Paul looked like he’s been doing it all his life.

It was a classic lesson with the instructor standing on the inside of the circles Charley and I were trying to make.  Karin spoke as we rode, saying almost philosophical things such as “your balance needs to be in your seat not the stirrups,” “don’t stand up in the stirrups” and “the reins are not a steering wheel.” Meanwhile, I was just trying to not fall off.

For me, all this bouncing around in the saddle brought back memories of my Pre-Jodhpur Days, those heavy work sessions when my legs got all beat to hell.

Karin noticed: “Aren’t you sorry you’re not wearing your breeches?”

“You mean my jods?”  I like calling them jods. Or riding trousers. I don’t wear breeches.

The jods did help with the sores, I have to admit. But I can’t fit into mine right now.

“That was twenty pounds ago, Karin.” I shuddered as I recalled the trauma of wearing them outside the house for first time.

 

Twenty pounds ago and far, far away.

Twenty pounds ago and far, far away.

“I can help you lose weight, Bob. We can post like this every lesson.”

Ah, motivation through pain. Or I could just buy bigger jods. Sometimes you have to outflank your instructor.

Karin concluded the work part of the session by bringing up a brand new rule: “You’re not a real rider until you fall off, Bob.”

Now that was not in the brochure.

“Define ‘falling off’, Karin. Does it count if I make myself fall off?”

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“Yes, that would be fine,” she replied. Then she let us go on a little trail ride. I think she was just trying to get rid of us at that point.

It was a good ride.

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Dammit

I suppose I should start by explaining the indelicate title. First, in a full sentence:

“I tried to post while trotting, but I couldn’t do it, dammit.”

In Lesson #9, Karin made good on her promise and attempted to teach me how to post. For this, she put me on Charley, her 13-year-old Morgan gelding. Charley was Karin’s first horse and he is her baby.  Karin loves to share Charley and use him for lessons, but I knew there would be no MY horse nonsense from me this time.

Karin and her baby

As we led Charley to the outdoor arena, Karin tried to warn me: “This is going to be a little different for you this time.”

“Yes, each horse offers a unique experience,” I replied.

I wanted her to know that I was becoming a sophisticated and thoughtful horseperson who understands that horses have distinct personalities and that we should tailor our approach to them based on that.

Karin nodded and smiled, not having to say, “You really don’t know what I’m talking about. But very soon, you will.”

He was extremely easy at the walk. It was almost like he could read my mind. I barely needed the reins. Just a little pressure on the legs, a bit of a shift in my body weight and he just knew where I wanted him to go. That part was fun.

Then Karin put him on the lunge line and told me to drop the reins.  We trotted and we cantered. And while I held on to the saddle horn and Dear Life, all I could think of was “There is a LOT of horse underneath me right now.”

Yup, different.

Karin explained that in order to post, I had to move with the horse and match his rhythm by using my legs to move my body.

I tried. I really did. But all I experienced was a painful series of saddle slams, the entire planet apparently becoming unglued from its surface as soon as Karin uttered these words, “Charley… trot.”

Karin noted the incongruity between the positioning of my buttocks and the location of the saddle. “You need to stay in contact with the horse.”

But this was like trying to do a two step dance to Ozzy Obsourne’s Crazy Train.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MLp7YNTznE

While all I experienced was complete anarchy in the saddle, Karin said she could see glimmers, little tiny slivers of progress. She said that I would get it.

While cussing is impolite, it can also be an indication of gritty determination.

So, yes, Karin.  I will get it. Dammit.

A lot of horse