Saturday = a new riding school for a private lesson. Nursing a mild hangover courtesy of the party celebrating the end of Innovative Learning Week at the University and a few birthday gins for a friend. I walked from the local train station to the stables. If I had the bike it would have been a six or seven minute journey, as it was it took me around twenty odd minutes but it was a nice walk. The sun was shining and the views were lovely.
I got there in time to watch the end of the last lesson, it felt like a nice atmosphere and my anticipated nerves never appeared. The instructor came over to me and introduced herself and explained that she was going to take me right back to basics to help rebuild my confidence. If after half a hour I felt like I could do more we do more the next time. Okay this seemed grand to me, that also took any pressure off. I began to relax. Then I saw Crosbie – I swear to god he is 95% leg and is huge, I needed the mounting ramp 🙂
The lesson was definitely back to basics. I practised halts, basic circles, changes of rein and trot transitions. We did leg yielding a fair bit too.Previously when leg yielding I move my inside leg backwards but when I did this Crosbie resisted and seemed confused by my aid. The instructor asked me instead to keep my leg at the girth and press. The difference was immediate. Crosbie knew what I was asking and responded beautifully – we were on the outside track within strides. He is one smart horse.
He has a long back and is a bit stiff so his trot initially was as though I was riding two totally separate horses! The instructor had warned me but it wasn’t until we were in the trot that I felt it. I don’t think I can even explain how strange it felt.
Once Crosbie was warmed up we were motoring, leg yielding in trot was a breeze until Crosbie thought he would be cheeky. I was caught entirely by surprise and we just cut across the school – I laughed and reset myself then on the next go I got a little resistance but we managed a decent leg yield.
Next the instructor asked me to leg yield from the inside to outside track in trot then ask for canter. I tensed up and asked would he try and run away with me – ‘Er no’ was the response. So I tried, my first ask for canter was terrible and the instructor backed it up which is probably the only reason we got it. While he was powerful I felt in control so on the next ask I asked correctly and got the canter, same again on the next side. Then some cool down in trot on both reins in forward seat and that was it.
I smiled throughout, the instructor asked me to explain certain movements then gave me to tips to improve and my confidence grew with each step Crosbie took. I might not have set the world alight but I enjoyed every minute and that’s exactly what the instructor was after.