Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Phase Three

At least, I think it's Phase Three.  In terms of the major parts of my life, I believe I have just entered what would be classified as Phase Three.

Phase One being the time I spent growing up.  Which would include the beginning of my horse addiction, learning to ride, my first trainer.  Not sure if the second trainer fits in there; I think so, but that really depends on if Phase One ended with my wedding or with the birth of my first child.  Because I got that cart before the horse, and the child came several years before the wedding.  And nearly two years before I began riding with my second trainer.

Phase Two definitely has been my struggling to keep contact with horses and find regular riding time in the saddle while raising my children and performing the home management duties of a wife. Not to mention being major support in the career building of a husband. During Phase Two I studied under my third trainer, albeit somewhat infrequently at times.  And, for the past eight years or so, I rode solely on my own, without the assistance and 'eyes on the ground' of a trainer.

But now, I have moved on.  Kids are grown.  Riding time is much more abundant. DH's career is going well (so well, he's just had a heap more responsibility piled on him in the past two weeks. . .) I'd been thinking of seeking a new, fourth, trainer for about a year when I happened to stumble upon one earlier this Spring.  Not just any one, but a dressage trainer who seems (so far) to have the same ideals and training system as I subscribe to.  Classic, not trendy.   Dressage as an art (art that comes with very hard physical and mental work, but still, an art form) rather than a method of riding in which you toss a particular kind of saddle on a horse and then go ride a pattern in an arena in the quest for ribbons.

I have, in the past few weeks, taken a few lessons on her own horse. Long story, but the barn owner where my horses have lived for the past decade and a half--my third trainer--does not allow other people to teach at her farm even though she herself has been unable, due to poor health, teach for nearly a decade, so I have been unable to take a lesson with the new trainer on my horse.  Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed those lessons, despite them being on a strange horse who is much bigger--say 7 inches taller and quite a bit rounder--than my horse.  The lessons have been challenging and yet simultaneously affirming of my riding skills.  Yes, this is the direction I want to go.  What is that saying?  When the student is ready, the teacher will appear?

I'm ready.  I am so ready.  The teacher has, apparently, appeared.

And so, this past weekend, I moved the Quarter Horse to her barn.  Where he is settling in even better than expected.  He's making new friends.  He's enjoying longer turnout times outdoors, and more grass to eat. His digestive system doesn't seem to be affected by the change of environment (horses can have notoriously sensitive guts when under stress). Even though he's never been worked in an arena with mirrors on the wall (mirrors are an awesome training aide and quite common at dressage barns) he was not spooked by them when I took him to 'our' new indoor arena for the first time.  So far, so good.

awaiting the trailer on moving day

checking out the handsome horse in the mirror

It's a smallish barn as far as specialty barns go; about eight horses and their owners.  So far, I've met about two thirds of them.  Seems to be a nice community with little drama (for some reason, drama, women and horses tend to go hand in hand).  I'm really excited to be a part of this barn. To get back into active dressage circles. To expand my knowledge and riding skills.

Phase Three, I welcome you with open arms.  Or, rather, with elbows at my sides, hands closed on the reins--thumbs up, always thumbs up!--legs draped loosely on my horse's barrel, a deep seat that knows when to be active and when to be passive, head up looking in the direction of travel, and heels down.   :0)

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