One of my new favorite blogs is I Gallop On, for obvious reasons. I love the way she writes, including pictures and videos of her horse adventures. Her philosophy is “horse + woman = energy”, which really speaks to me. I’m finding there is indeed something magical that happens when you put people and horses together, or at least it’s true for me. There are so many components to riding and being around the horses, so much to learn! The learning process in itself is exhilarating, all those connections being made, the “a-ha” moments when my leg is in just the right position at trot and I feel the difference, when I go through the process correctly of putting away the bridle, getting the buckles and straps in the right positions.
One of her recent posts talks about the “generally unspoken conspiracy of horsewomen”, the easy connection between riding and sex. I have to say after my first couple of lessons I felt like I had been rode hard and put away wet. I don’t know about you, but the only other thing I straddle is my husband. I kept thinking -- how do men ride horses? Ahem…anyway --
In 5 lessons I’ve ridden 4 different horses. Generally they try to be more consistent with beginners but circumstances have made that impossible. Willow says she feels confident enough in my abilities to put me on almost any horse, which is a huge confidence booster. Keep in mind that all of their horses are voice-command trained and extremely gentle, but still, I’ve only been doing this for about a month.
It was quite hot during my last lesson and my horse kept wanting to slow down in the shady part of the ring (which seemed reasonable!). Willow told me I needed to anticipate this and ask him to speed up before he slowed down too much. When he wasn’t responding to my still-weak “clucks” she told me to kick him. I couldn’t do it. She kept saying, “No, you need to kick him!” and when I finally did, of course, he responded, but I felt terrible. When I told D the story he said, “Well, there’s some personal growth right there.” My fear of confrontation and empathy for the horse was preventing me from doing something that was completely appropriate.