I had a riding lesson at a "new" barn today, one of the ones on my list that I really wanted to try before settling in somewhere. When I got there, I realized that this is a much more professional place. I knew that they have some presence in the eventing community so I kind of expected this. Anyway, I had a very tough lesson with two other people and it made me realize how far I have to go. It was weird though, I kept thinking about how much I suck, yet I seemed to actually be better at the harder stuff, than the easier. Just walking and trotting out I couldn't seem to get a very forward pace from my horse, had trouble collecting her and with the leg yield. Yet when it was time to do the complicated serpentine routine -- canter, circle, canter, loop, trot loop, canter loop on other lead, repeat, canter diagonal, switch direction & lead, canter circle and start the serpentine again ... I did very well. Even the instructor seemed happy with my performance. I was the last one to go too, so I watched everyone else wondering if I'd even be able to pull it off, but I did okay with that part, amazing myself a little bit.
So now I have a dilemma. I like BOTH barns (you saw that one coming, didn't you?) The first barn is more casual, more laid back. They let me school on my own, maybe I'll take a trail ride someday, I get along nicely with the barn owner and feel pretty comfortable already, etc. It's FUN there. Barn number two however probably can make me into the kind of rider that I want to be (again). They're nice there, but more formal, more structured. But the class was pretty hard and I didn't stop working the entire time. They are deep into the discipline of riding that I most admire (and most loved when I was younger) so I feel like I could learn so much there. So, I'm thinking that maybe I'll ride at both places for a while. The lessons are pretty reasonable really, so it's actually doable, at least for a while anyway. So I asked the instructor if I can come back for next weeks lesson and she is up for it. I asked if it was okay if I wasn't up to the level of the others and she made a kind of "you're crazy" face at me and told me that I was just fine for the level of the class. Oh also, they alternate weeks, one week flat work/dressage, the next week is jumping. This week was the dressage week which means that next week will be jumping -- ACK! She said not to worry, they'll start me off on some smaller fences. They sure don't waste much time around here. Before I started back with the riding, I just assumed it would be MONTHS or even longer before I had the opportunity to try jumping again, so this is pretty exciting for me.
So I think that's what I'm going to try and do now. I'm going to have my Friday barn and my Saturday barn. Maybe I'll eventually feel really strongly about one over the other and will just go 100% with that barn, but for now this is what I'm going to do. Of course, my life just got a little more complicated and busy, but this is the fun stuff. I'm so happy and so lucky that I get to have this in my life!