First, my apologies for using a photo of me instead of my horse. He's much better looking, but I don't have any photos of him that I really like.
Second, just want to give some props to you experienced riders who have drilled yourselves and your horses on the proper cues and form.
Me and my horse, we've got some work to do. He's trying, he really is. But I'm new to this and I confuse him...a lot...
Likewise, I perplex my instructor and test her patience. At one point, after cantering Dusty directly into a dead stop in the corner of the arena (the only thing missing was our dunce caps), I turned around to find my instructor looking at me with some mix of pity, surprise, and a hint of contempt.
She remained speechless as I tried to explain that keeping Dusty at a canter (he is a touch on the lazy side), while simultaneously cuing him to turn, without myself bouncing wildly, or falling off altogether, is a bit much for someone of my limited coordination. Speechless. She actually stared at me for about 15 seconds before just saying: "Turn around. Get back on the rail."
She got a lot more talkative soon after, though. Best I can recall, it sounded like this:
"...heels down, hands forward, back straight, eyes forward, cue with your outside leg and kiss, okay now give him a little inside leg to keep him on the rail, back straight, stop leaning into the turns-he's not a bike, heels down, shorten your reigns, start the turn a little earlier, don't let him slow down like that, give him a kick, stop leaning forward-he thinks you want him to stop, quit staring at his head-he ain't going to change colors, heels down..."
And so on.
Despite all this, she deemed the lesson (my third) to be a wild success. Dusty and I were exhausted. He got a treat and quick shower with the hose. I got to write a check and promise to buy better boots before the next lesson.
This will get easier, right? Surely you're not all movie-equestrians - you know, those amazing silver screen icons who can jump on a horse and gallop through Central Park like you were born to it.
You all looked goofy and felt even goofier in the beginning.