Monday, 7 February 2011

Four Seasons in One Day

I had a riding lesson today, thankfully indoors, as our lovely West of Scotland climate threw everything it could muster at us between the hours of 9am and mid-day. On the school run at 9am, light rain, but by the time I headed up towards the stables it was lashing. I headed up the hill through a river flowing down it from the Garden Centre Cafe.

Wading round a pond at the entrance door I regretted not putting the riding wellies being on - seemed like bad etiquette to wear you riding boots in a coffee shop, but it wouldn't be the first time - as I negotiated the water hurdle, and went inside for a quick coffee and half an hours work on the laptop before my ride. Nose down 30 minutes and work done, I looked out the panoramic window and Flaming Nora, it's snowing again and visibility has reduced to zero. I was delighted, couldn't have faced the icy drench again but had to sit in the car fully 10 minutes to demist a now freezing cold car full of wet clothes, not to mention a bit of snow.

Got to Hazelden and tacked up Monty for our lesson, managing to get nothing in a fanckle, which is unlike me. I had a great 45 minute lesson with Kerry and finding that now that my ego got over itself, I am learning much better. I have started to ride  a little more with my legs and less with my hands. Although my hands and waist still have a tendency to go awry whenever Monty stops listening but I am really starting to get this and am so much more aware when things are wrong. After about 25 minutes in Monty suddenly started to carry himself much better, moving forward well, but with a spring he was lighter in my hands and in a much better shape. The private lessons are so valuable at this stage. I have learned how visual and tactile a learner I am, and it is difficult to absorb the finer points in a group lesson. Today I found myself feeling the difference of a correct grip on the reins , my fingers wrapped around tighter but my elbows soft, and looking and seeing if those thumbs pointed right at Monty's great big donkey ears.

During the lesson the temperature plummeted and while I sweated it out in 20, 15 and 10 metre canter circles poor was Kerry frozen to the point at which you feel that someone must have severed your little toe while you were not looking and placed it back in your boot, right there but not attached. And yet, this afternoon the sun was shining and I headed out to pick up the kids in a lightweight trench coat. Only in Scotland, I am sure, can we experience at least 3 of the 4 seasons in the course of school hours!

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