My Weekly Riding Lesson
I was nervous in going to my lesson tonight, for a few reasons. First, my lesson last week was probably my worst lesson in a long while. I mean I am improving. And normally I can find at least one good thing in the lesson. But after I almost crashed into another rider, and trying to watch the other riders, and trying to pay attention to my husband while trying to ride well since I was being recorded.
Now add to that that I had an upcoming doctor’s appointment the following Monday, for my ‘condition’ which had still not been revealed to me in a medical diagnosis. And just before my lesson started I got a message from my stepmother that my father was currently in the ED. So my mind was obviously in many different places.
And poor Murphy, my lesson horse, he was not feeling 100% either. I learned that after my lesson he had his teeth inspected and they were in need of attention. So Murphy got his teeth floated, I had my doctor’s appointment, my father was ok, and went home from the hospital the same night, and after I watched the video clips of my lesson I realized I didn’t look as bad as I had felt.
So I had last week’s lesson on my mind and then I also decided late last week to try a new saddle. The saddle came in the mail yesterday, so I was able to try it on Ethan. And thankfully, it fit him perfectly. I lunged him, and then decided I needed to really try the saddle out so I sucked up all the courage I could muster, and I climbed on. I was very nervous. This was the first time I have ridden Ethan since last summer. And he is used to doing what he wants to do, not what I am asking of him.
Overall he did really well. It was touch and go for a bit, but by the end of the hour, I was very happy with how he went (only at a walk) and very happy with the saddle. And since I did well in the saddle on Ethan, I decided to take it with me to my lesson. I wasn’t sure how that was going to go, but I decided since Ethan and Murphy are similar in conformation it would probably be ok.
So all day long I was thinking about last weeks lesson, and hoping it would be ok with my trainer about bringing a different saddle. And worrying if she was going to have me jump again with a bunch of other riders in the arena.
But regardless of what thoughts I had playing through my imagination, I made it through the day and got to my lesson with enough time to get Murphy ready to ride and be in the arena by 6:00 PM. I am getting really good at getting ready in a short amount of time. Positive point number 1.
And when Katie, my trainer, saw the saddle she was happy with it. It fit Murphy well enough, and she said it would be ok for the lesson, positive point number 2.
Just Buy The Damn Saddle
The saddle has an 18” seat and I like the way it fits me. I feel more comfortable in it than I do in the 17½” seat I have been riding in. This saddle was not a budget item really, but after the last month or so of all of the personal health stuff I have been trying to deal with, I needed a little retail therapy and I bought a used 2007 Devocoux Biarritz saddle for myself. It was a very good deal, considering it’s a French saddle and I have always, always wanted one, so I decided to just get it. I found it at Pik and Louie Saddlery online. My justification is that in the next 3 weeks, I won’t be able to take riding lessons for at least 8 weeks. So the money that I would have been spending on my lessons, I would invest into my dream saddle. And honestly, I am glad that I did.
It did feel a little different than the Bicton synthetic saddle I have been riding in, but I felt more balanced. It was also easier to get up out of the saddle for rising trot and also for two-point. The Bicton saddle is an all-purpose saddle with a very deep seat. This makes it a little more challenging to get out of when want too. And it being a 17 ½” seat, it really holds me in place. But I think I have graduated a little bit with my seat to not need to be held in place with such a deep seat. The Bicton is really comfortable. There is a lot of padding which will make it great for trail rides and playing at home. I have enjoyed this saddle, and will continue to use it. But as I progress with my riding, I think I will get more out of the Devocoux. As my trainer said, “It’s a lovely saddle.” And I would have to agree with her, it really is lovely.
Ok, back to my lesson….
Cantering Is Easy
For whatever reason, there was no one else riding in the indoor tonight, positive point number 3. I had the entire arena to myself. It was a little different in this saddle, but I felt balanced. We did more canter work this evening too. The first time starting on the right lead was bumpy and didn’t go smoothly. But this is also Murphy’s challenging side. He has 2 vertebrae in his neck that are fused, so he can’t turn his head as much to the right. It basically makes it feel like he is stiff on one side of his neck. But after a less than stellar performance on my part, we changed directions and tried cantering n the left lead. This went MUCH smoother. It was easier for Murphy, and I felt more balanced. So much so that I was able to keep my leg on him and keep him moving forward while I also understood what she meant by having my elbows act as a hinge and move with the reins, a give and take movement while we cantered around the arena.
And after a successful left lead, it was time to go back to the right side. The second time to the right was much better. Not as good as the left, but definitely an improvement over the first attempt to the right.
My cantering is improving with every lesson. As is my finding the correct diagonal. I still have a long way to go until it is automatic, but it is a lot better than what it was when I started my lessons! And this is something I need to keep in mind. Yes, I get that not every lesson will be perfect. But learning in every lesson is something I have been able to do, and that is what I need to focus on. My riding is improving! And that is what I wanted to get out of my lessons.
Trying To Stay Positive Past My Lesson
But now for the hard part. I will be having surgery on May 23rd. And this means I will not be able to ride for at least 8 weeks, possibly as long as 12 weeks. It all depends on how complicated my insides choose to be when I have surgery. Looking at the positive, my stomach won’t look so big after the surgery. But I’m not going to lie and say I’m not nervous. And knowing that not only will I not be able to ride for least 8 weeks, but I also will not be able to life anything greater than 10 lbs. for at least 6 weeks. This means I will not be the one feeding my horses or cleaning their stalls. I will be relying on my husband so much while I am recovering. But again, looking at the positive, at least I am healthy enough to have the surgery, right?
Right now though, I have 3 more riding lessons left before I am out of commission. So I am going to try and stay positive, and learn as much as I can in each lesson. And then after surgery, I will have a lot of time to dedicate to writing my DIY book that has been in my head along with writing a lot of content for my blog. And I have already started filing a lot of extra videos for my YouTube channel. So all I will have to do is to edit the videos, and create the video thumbnail. All of these things I can do when I am off from work for 6 weeks after surgery, positive point number 4.
Overall for my riding lesson this week, it was filled with positive moments, and I am so grateful for that. Now I just have to train my brain to focus on the positive in everything. It is helpful to have a good reminder, like a fantastic riding lesson, like my lesson today!