But!! There are truly generous people in the world, and a lovely mare was made available for my use. Plus this mare has had lessons with Stephen before, so neither of us individually were strangers to him - just to each other. Meaning.... this clinic recap may be a slight departure.
|"I HAVE FEELINGS SO MANY OF THEM ALL OF THEM ALL AT ONCE OMG" - Shen, probably|
|equine therapy session starts now|
Part of why I'm interested in riding different horses in dressage lessons lately is to learn to be a better dressage rider. Perhaps in some ways this lesson did in fact add to my education in that department... but idk. There are some pretty serious positional and balance flaws going on (like the fact that I still sit on the outside of the horse despite making such a huge deal out of it in the Grant Schneidman clinic this past spring...).
|"OMG NO I CANT DO THIS THING"|
|"good girl Shen!" - emma|
"OMG NO I DONT THINK SO ARE YOU SURE" - Shen, probably
No seriously tho, Emma. Stop that right now.
She is very sensitive. A shift in my weight, a jiggle with my legs, just about anything could set her off. Really tho, when I say "set her off" what I mean is: a sudden rigid full body tenseness and quickening of the step that feels like a bolt but doesn't actually go anywhere or turn into anything. It's just all so tight omg.
|"I DON'T KNOW OMG HOW WHYYY"|
|"OMG NO DEFINITELY CAN NOT DO THIS THING"|
|"OK MAYBE I CAN"|
|"ARE YOU THERE OUTSIDE REIN? IT'S ME, SHEN"|
|listening ears. listening way too damn hard haha|
|"OK THIS THING I AM DOING THIS THING IT IS OK"|
And yea, the praise train pretty much chugged around constantly in this lesson. LOTS of verbal encouragement and reassurances happening with every step lol.
|"EVEN THROUGH TRAFFIC BUT DAMN I WISH THESE ASSHOLES WOULD GO SOMEWHERE ELSE"|
We had a number of false starts in both directions (just speeding up into running racing trot) before figuring out how to strike off nicely into canter. It was fine tho. When we'd miss the depart, we would just ease back into reestablishing our trot - nbd, pony, it's ok! - and try again.
|"OK YES THIS IS A THING I CAN DO"|
So after those couple missed departs when we corrected by going back to nice trot (instead of say, just running into canter), she figured out the strike off based on my (likely shoddy) aids and away we went cantering.
|now that's a better trot girlfriend!|
|life is tough for those red mares|
|she really has a sweet face|
But it still felt like a real win. I learned a lot about giving a sympathetic ride. And about being accountable for my lower legs, and shifting weight. And I tend to think Shen and I were able to build some very real trust by the end of that ride.