Friday, 10 June 2011
Here is Merlyn in his field after we rode today, him enjoying the sun, me (out of shot) all sweaty from a forty minute lesson with Carolyn which involved some serious brain re-training. The more I learn the less I know, I am finding and also the more I want to try to understand.
There is a rather impolite expression which would articulate what today's lesson did to my head, which I will spare you, but in co-ordination terms it felt as unnatural as patting your head and rubbing your tummy does the first time you ever attempt it.
Here was the source of my confusion. I was taught to apply the leg aids in completely the opposite way from I have understood pretty much my whole, albeit intermittent, riding life.
While circling and turning Merlyn I was asked to apply outside leg on the girth, inside leg behind the girth. Every time we went up the centre line to hear 'circle left' or 'circle right' I had to fight every learned riding instinct in my body to make the switch. I would just about get it straight in my head, when she would flip it around and shout 'circle right' and I would have to mentally have a whole conversation with myself saying 'okay, I am going right, inside leg to outside rein, put your left (outside) on the girth and now move that right (inside) leg back a bit.....'
Now I have to be completely honest and say I lack any of the horsemanship to understand why one method is right and the other wrong, but I can tell you it really did mess with my head. I suspect this was a tailored piece of advice to correct something in most likely me (or perhaps horse) rather than a general piece of advice, but I have to quiz her further on this.
Now and then when I feel a little demoralised at my lack of flair or my complete confusion at right-from-left-hands-higher-hands-lower-bring-your-knees-in-get-off-your-knees-bottom-back-bottom-forward-inside-leg-on-the-girth-behind-girth type of advice, I have to check myself and think "what would I tell my child" and answer "you can get better at anything with practise". And then to remember to make sure I am setting the bar at a level that I have a chance of some success.
Carolyn says "I don't expect you to ride at my level, but I do want you to ride at your level well" That would be a start, I think.
Love that shiny bottom ....I think we are bonding, he and I.