How Complicated Riding Actually Is....
I was recently watching a video of a riding lesson and remembering how many times in my riding life I heard some of the same comments the trainer was making. Simple things on the surface: "Turn him off the outside rein," "Don't rush, take your time," "Bring your arm closer to your body," "Start turning there, don't wait so long," "Keep the rhythm."
Oh, and one of my favorites from my first excellent trainer, "Don't let him do that!" She would often tell me how, but just as often let me figure out the answer myself.
Riding is a complex sport as I suspect most sports are. But there is the added complication of working with a partner who does not speak the same language we do. It's our job, as riders, to find and establish a common language to communicate what we want to happen. And, in many cases, we need to adjust that language each time we swing into the saddle. (Or in my case, clamber and thunk into the saddle.)
Every thing we do with our legs, our seats, our arms, our hands, and even our eyes, can make a difference in how a ride progresses. Our balance, or evenness, our weight and every nuance of what we do with our bodies in the saddle can make a huge difference in what the horse does under us.
When people hear that I have been riding for some fifty years and then mention that I am going to take a riding lesson somewhere, they might say, "You've been riding that long and you still need lessons?"
I'd like to reply, "Absolutely, but I'm studying for my doctorate," but I know that would be a lie. No matter how many lessons I've had, there's always something new to learn or something old to unlearn. And every good trainer I've met has a slightly different perspective on the best way to achieve my goals.
As I look forward to getting back into the saddle--clamber and hoist--I remain humbled by how much I still can learn about this sport of ours. I'm not sure if I will get back into the competition arena again--been there, done that forever and it's lost much of its allure--but I do know I will never stop training myself and my horses with each and every outing.
Once that doctorate degree looms on the distant horizon, it's hard not to pursue it.