I have to say that I am so excited about riding these days. This is particularly amazing considering that we are dead in the middle of a New England winter and it’s hard to motivate and keep one’s focus moving forward with the terrible cold, dark days and limited riding options (in other words, forever circling the same indoor ring). But I’ve been working hard and concentrating and I really do feel like I am starting to make some progress. I feel a little more confident, I feel that I’m starting to “get” some stuff. And not just wrapping my head around everything, but really feeling some of this stuff so that it’s starting to become second nature to me physically. Almost. Or perhaps some of that body memory is kicking in too. Probably it’s a combination of things. I know that I have a long way to go to even get back to being the rider who I once was, but I do feel like I’m inching closer to that. Of course, like anything that takes a fair amount of skill, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I have yet to learn. But that’s one of the things that make this sport so interesting and fulfilling to me. Another is the partnership you have and build with a horse, of course. There is nothing on Earth like that. I feel lucky to be able to work with Lulu, I really love her and all her quirks. And I love her even more for putting up with me. Last night Kelly told me that she feels that Lulu needs a rider like me. She’s still pretty green over fences and Kelly believes her habit of rushing while jumping is based in fear, more than excitement. She’s just trying speed through everything and get through it. Kelly feels that I’m good for her because I’m confident and decisive. I’m not excitable and don’t get flustered, but I don’t micro-manage her and I do manage to stay out of her way, don’t grab her mouth or make jumping an unpleasant experience for her. I actually feel a little badly that so many different riders have to ride Lulu. She probably gets a lot of conflicting rider feedback from week-to-week.
So, this was my second lesson with Kelly and I again felt that she was very complimentary of my supposed abilities. I’m sure she’s just a very positive person, but it felt pretty good to my ego anyway.
Oh, as I was leaving the barn last night, Lulu nickered at me again. I'm sure she just wanted me to feed her another peppermint, but still, I love it when she does that.