After last weekend I’d been hoping the weather would have been better this weekend, but it was more of the same. I really should stop noticing the wind in the trees. Its where it all started yesterday. My heart just sank when I looked out of the window and saw the wind first thing. However, my brain kicked in with trying to think about PMA (Positive Mental Attitude).
I tried to tell myself on the drive up there that there was so many variables of what could happen that I needed to let go. I’m not a magician, I don’t have a magic wand so there are so many things that are beyond my control. The only thing that I was in control of was being a confident rider and working on the partnership with the horse I’d be on. I got to the school and my instructor said I’d be on Rocco. My face must of noticeably dropped as my instructor said, ‘do you want to ride another horse today’?’.
I thought about it and while my heart was skipping a beat at this prospect, I found myself say ‘no, I can’t run away from Rocco and it’d just be too easy to ride a different horse today’. The decision made my instructor said we’d just work in walk and see how we faired.
She was lovely my instructor. I don’t get to spend much time around horses and she invited me up to the stable block to help get Rocco ready. She felt it might be good for me to get more experience around horses. So between us we tacked up Rocco for the lesson.
There was only one way I was going to tackle this lesson and that was to break it up into chunks in my head, with each chunk as a target. First up, mounting. I was up and in the saddle with no problems and we walked into the school. My instructor said Rocco seemed different today. Last Saturday he’d been fidgety and off straight into walk. We set off in walk and rather than just stopping at the usual points of A, E, C and B I mixed it up with stops at places such as K, H and F.
I could hear a car coming in, not long after our warm up had started. I’d remembered Rocco having lost the plot at K the previous weekend when he’d scarpered sideways and then gone forward in to trot. I wondered as we went through F what would happen this time round if we did a series of quick transitions of walk-halt-walk so I put it in to plan at A, K and E. I’d not mentioned it to my instructor as she’d given me control of my warm up. However, she’d realized what I’d done and why I’d done it. Rocco had just worked through what I’d given him and there hadn’t been a problem this time. Okay, so second chunk conquered – moving car on gravel.
The third chunk to be conquered was the spooky corner where the jumps are and Rocco’s associated them with my now phantom pink musto jacket from 2 weeks ago. Passing through H my instructor reminded me of this and told me just to keep him walking and my legs on. I did and we got through this. Yay!!! As we exited M and went down to B I praised him. I was so happy. My stomach had started to calm down, it’d been doing back flips when I’d arrived.
A change of rein and my instructor got me to walk up from C to A, but instead of doing just one halt at X, got me to halt at G and D too. Rocco was still looking at the A end of the school which is still being redeveloped, but I just moved him on. Fourth chunk tackled. I was also speeding up the walk and slowing it down between the long and short sides of the school.
We worked on a bit of leg yielding which went really well this week and then we tried 10 metre circles at H, K and M. I found those points interesting as they’re points I don’t usually practice a lot at so you’re having to use a combination of the markers in the school and a couple or so points on the ground to make sure you get the circle fully rounded and at the size you need it to be. Rocco had started a couple of times at noises but I’d coped with it. I did a turn on the forehand at E as a change of rein.
For the final part of the lesson we worked on a spiralling circle from E. I was to work with Rocco and go from 20 to 15 to 10 and then finally to 5 metres and then spiral back out. It was really challenging and was going well until we started spiralling back out. On the 15 metres I noticed Rocco’s head was bent round to the right looking outside away from the circle. I mentioned it to my instructor to ask if he was okay and whether it was something I was doing, for example had I got too tighter grip on one of the reins. She replied his tail was swishing as well. I wish she hadn’t. I’ve read that it can be a sign that a horse isn’t happy. Dread just hit me, but I tried not to think about and still moved him on.
Just as we came to the end of the outward spiral the sun shone in through the slats in the wall and as we approached the outside track Rocco saw a horse come to greet him. It was actually his shadow. Rocco started and didn’t want to go on to the outside track he started walking very quickly about 5 m in from the track. I just sorted out my reins and got my inside leg on and moved him out to the track. It was a bit of a battle but it was one I succeeded with. I’d conquered a 6th chunk. We turned in at A and halted at X.
My instructor was really pleased with what we’d done, ok so I’d not trotted but she felt that just working with Rocco had been important for the lesson. I was just pleased that despite a few gremlins here and there we’d got through it. I did make a mental note though that the next lesson we need to get in to rising trot, which ever horse I’m on. I de tacked him and my instructor suggested that I might like to think about getting there abit earlier so I could start helping out tack up whichever mount I’m on. I thought it was a great idea and one that I’d welcome.
Looking back on my lesson as I walked over from the tack room to book my next lesson I was really chuffed … and dare I say it relieved that I’d got through my lesson. My instructor had been wonderful (yet again!!) and I’d really appreciated the go slow approach and just working on the basics. I’d not been disappointed that we’d not trotted, it hadn’t mattered tbh ...