My Weekly Riding Lesson
This week’s riding lesson was a little bit different. Ok, actually my riding lesson was completely different. You see today, I gave myself my own lesson. The barn where I take my weekly riding lessons was upgrading their dirt in the indoor arena. SO this meant no riding lesson this week. And since I have been working with Ethan for my 6 week challenge, I thought I would use today to continue our work.
The Best Laid Plans
I had it planned out perfectly. I would get home, and be ready to ride by 6:00 PM, just like I do for my lesson. But by the time I got Ethan tacked up, it was 6:20. Funny how when you aren’t paying for the time, you go a little bit slower. But I got Ethan tacked up in his saddle, boots, and even his bridle. And I took him out to my soon to be riding arena.
I had every intention of lunging him first, and then after he was tuckered out, I wanted to work on mounting and walking around the arena. Everything was going as I had planned, and I even managed to get some pictures of Ethan while I was lunging him. Yes, I had my helmet on too. And even though I had every intention of riding him tonight, it just didn’t happen.
Have you ever tried to take photos of a horse while you are lunging him? It isn’t easy. So if the photos are a little blurry, please understand why.
We worked on lunging, walk trot and canter both directions of the ring. He is settling down nicely, and working much more relaxed on the lunge line. But this was the first day I lunged him in his bridle. The first bridle I had on him, he didn’t seem to like. He kept opening his mouth and tossing his head. Looking at the photos, I can see the bit was really low, and this might have been why he was tossing his head.
But I decided to switch to a D ring snaffle, and he went much more quiet in this bit. We went back to lunging, and he was a completely great horse. We continued to lunge for about 30 minutes. He was calm and quiet so I decided to work on mounting.
I brought my mounting block to the center of the arena. First we just worked on standing still at the mounting block. And when he did this without hesitation, I started acting like I was going to jump up on him. I stood at the side of the saddle, and hopped up and down repeatedly. He just stood there. So I made sure to tell him how good he was, and gave him a pat and then did it all over again.
Then I got a little braver, and stood on the mounting block leaning over him. Again, Ethan stood perfectly still. He didn’t side step, he didn’t dance around. He just stood still. So I just leaned over the saddle. I didn’t attempt to get on him, I just draped myself over the saddle while he stood there. I know he was tired, because he had just been lunged for over 30 minutes. He wasn’t sweaty, or gasping for air, but I know it was a work out for him. I did this for a few more minutes, and decided that was enough for today.
Knowing When To Quit
By this point of our ‘lesson’, Ethan was doing great. And I was so tempted to climb aboard, and take him for a walk around the arena. But then I thought about it for a minute, and I decided this would be the best time to stop. He had done so great up to this point, and it would be a shame to have something go wrong.
He had done everything I asked of him and we had already worked longer than we have so far. So I decided this would be the perfect time to stop so we could end on a positive. I did take him outside of our property, and we went for a small walk on the road, and he did great. Again, another fantastic performance by my horse, so why push it? Does that make sense?
So after his little off property walk, I took him back to the barn and untacked him. He was definitely tired, but not overworked.
Enjoying What You Do
Even though I didn’t go to my riding lesson, I was able to work with my own horse. And even though I didn’t ride him, I did have a very successful ‘lesson’ with Ethan. I don’t want to over do it with him, or push him to where he doesn’t enjoy his job. He is a fantastic horse, and I want him to enjoy what he does with me. By working with him gradually, hopefully I can make this happen.
I also realize just how much I enjoy my riding lessons. It is nice to ride a horse that I don’t have to train. Both of the lesson horses I have been riding know their job very well. This helps me to improve my confidence, as well as my riding. Eventually, I will be riding Ethan, hopefully like I do my lesson horses.
The main reason I am taking riding lessons is to be a better and more confident rider. I want to be able to walk, trot and canter on my own horses. I can on Frisby and hopefully soon I will be able to say the same about Ethan. But until then, I will continue with my riding lessons, and I can’t wait until next week when I can go back to my new normal of riding every Thursday night!