Saturday, May 23

Riding lesson

Greetings. Since I haven’t ridden in a couple of weeks, this week’s lesson was all about feeling the rhythm of the horse, paying attention and counting the foot falls. Not so much knowing which feet were hitting the ground at any one time, but feeling all 4 foot falls. At the last place I rode at, the instructor asked me several times to pay attention to which feet were hitting the ground at any one time as well as keep track of the foot falls. Brenda however said that not even she keeps track that much. The more I learn about Brenda and her ways, the more I’m convinced that the instructor at the last place I was at, though she was certainly well meaning, didn’t really know what she was doing, and was trying to be both the therapist and a riding instructor. Anyway, as I told Brenda today, I’m glad to be at a therapeutic center in general and at her center in particular, and glad for the opportunity to ride several horses, and not just be limited to one.

Another aspect of my prior riding came out today as well: my one and only fall at the other riding place. Brenda said that this explained a lot of my troubles, after I told her of the experience. She asked me why I had not told her before, and it honestly never occurred to me. I suppose I should have, but there were no questions in the application packet about prior experience, and as I say, it never occurred to me. I think that the questions deal may change though; after my experience of holding this information, Brenda said while laughing that she might come up with an additional questionnaire for those that have ridden before about their experiences. Though she was joking when she said it, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if she did do this.

Talking about the rhythm of the horse and feeling its hips when it was walking and while I was riding was quite interesting. Hearing Brenda describe what the hips were doing, moving up and down, and then propelling the horse forward was very interesting to me. We did do some standing and stretching in the saddle, but thankfully the horse was standing still this time so I didn’t get dizzy. Brenda talked with someone recently who said that my dizziness might have had something to do with a certain part of the brain that gets out of whack and can throw one’s sense of balance way off. I feel like she and I are better communicating about things after today’s lesson. I have a high tolerance for pain and discomfort, and well pretty much everything else I suppose. I guess that’s one of the things that makes me a good teacher, since I have a lot of patience with people. Anyway, this high tolerance also gets me in trouble too since if I tell someone that my leg hurts, it doesn’t just hurt—it might feel like it’s about to fall off. This was another thing that I had to explain to the last riding instructor, that I’m not sure she fully got. Anyway, I encouraged Brenda to keep asking me if I’m all right, since sometimes my high tolerance can kick in and I may not be telling all.

On the way back to the barn, she mentioned that I might could groom Bullwinkle, the 18 hand plus horse that they have, after a lesson in order to better get to know him and get a sense of how tall he is. She happened to mention that he might be the next horse for me, but only after we get all this initial balance and basics of walking ironed out with Paint. I liked the idea of grooming him and will hopefully be able to do it soon.

During our lesson, there were some deer that showed up and were wandering around outside the arena. Apparently deer at this farm are not uncommon. One of them even jumped the rail of the arena and had to be shown the door. I took my cane this time since I felt it wasn’t fair to Gucci to have her cramped in the floor of the front seat area of my driver’s jeep for 40 minutes each way, and that’s without me wearing my boots. Plus, I was a little curious of how the horses would react to my cane. There ended up being no reaction from the horses, except for Paint. He didn’t react negatively though. When I was leading him down the path from the barn to the arena, using my cane in my left hand and tapping it back and forth, apparently Paint was quite fascinated with this and kept moving his eyes with the motion of my cane.

That’s all for today’s entry. My next lesson will likely be next Saturday. Until then.

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