Thursday, June 5, 2014


I am the type of person that doesn't like being dependent.  As an example, I loved smoking.  I smoked for a very long time and for the most part enjoyed it.  But when I realized that it was becoming inconvenient to smoke and that I was planning my social time around smoking, I quit.  Just like that.  And it was freeing.

After DH's Mom's conversation with me regarding trailering offsite, I gave my head a shake and set my jaw.   I was reminded that I did not want to be dependent on others when it came to riding and frankly, no one was going to tell me that I couldn't handle an offsite ride!  :-)

I booked a private lesson with LA, out in the loping field a couple of weeks ago.  I told her that I wanted to start riding on my own safely and confidently.  That I wanted to be able to have the freedom to come to the barn when I wanted and not feel the confines of having to ride with someone.   She eventually got it out of me how inadequate DH's Mom's comments made me feel.

LA:  Do you think DH's Mom is a good rider?
Me:  She's a confident rider.  She's been riding since she was a kid.
 LA:  Yes, she is confident.  But she's far from perfect.  We all have little technical quirks when it comes to riding.  But I can tell you right now, neither DH's Mom, TS or SS is qualified to make an assessment of your skills.  You are a much better rider than you give yourself credit for.  Stop listening to them and don't be so hard on yourself!

Of course, after her little pep talk, my lesson was awesome.  :-)  Gem and I jogged around the field numerous times.  The ground, with it's lumps and bumps and hardness, feels sooooo much different from sand!  Gem was fresh at the beginning, but he eventually calmed down.  He was very responsive to my requests to slow down or speed up.  He eventually dropped his head a bit and I think he was enjoying being out in the open.  I enjoyed being one on one with him.  LA did point out that the uneven terrain causes me to pitch forward a bit, so I have to work on keeping my back pressed against the imaginary wall. 

LA:  I think you should lope now.
Me: OK.
LA:  Walk him a few strides and then queue him.  It will be fine.  Don't over-think it.  Loping around a field is fantastic.... it's the most freeing feeling.

I cleared my head of thoughts tripping on rocks or small shrubs and focused on the sun, the view and how powerful Gem felt....and, of course, how beautiful his flowing mane looked.  :-)  There were a few times that I thought Gem was getting away from me, but I gently sat back and he ever so slightly slowed his pace to something I was more comfortable with.  Strangely, I didn't seem to notice the differences in the terrain like I did when we jogged around the field.  One time when we were going around a bend, he actually self-corrected his lead by doing a flying lead change!!!  LA clapped at that.  :-)  I felt wonderful....and free.  :-)

After that lesson,  I went out the trails with DH's Mom, TS and SS.  As we entered the large field from the orchard, TS said she was going to lope.  SS and DH's Mom said they would join her and asked if I was coming.  I told them to do their thing.  One of the things that LA told me a long time ago was to not always lope when others did; you didn't want your horse to think that he should lope every time others took off.  So, Gem and I came to a stop and watched them all take off across the large open space.  Gem's ears were pointed towards them, but at no time did I feel his body coil up and indicate that he wanted to lope after them.  We stood and watched them come to a stop at the other side of the field.  It was then that I asked him to jog across the field towards them....which he did at a beautifully easy and consistent pace.  

And that, my friends, is how awesome my horse is.....he stayed with me. He didn't race after the group and when I asked him to catch up with them he did so at the pace I determined.  I will admit that my heart did swell a bit, and I had a big smile on my face as we came up to the group.   As we jogged past my fellow riders, who had stopped to catch their breath, I mentioned that Gem and I were going to hang out in the loping field and left the group standing there.   He and I spent some quality time together walking around the field, enjoying the sun and the apple blossoms.  Bliss.  Yes, the umbilical cord has been cut.....  :-)