Looking my best has always been a big deal to me. Every lesson I’ve ever taken, its always been the same; hairnet, tucked in polo, belt, gloves and shiny boots. Unfortunately, after so many years of not riding, most of my polos and breeches have gone missing. I’m left with 3 pairs of hand-me-down children’s Riding Sport breeches, that are too big, in lovely shades of bleu, brown and gray. Then I have one polo left, which is what I wore to my first lesson. I never remember dressing for lessons, in the past, being such a struggle. Since the weather was so warm, I had no choice but to wear…a T-SHIRT. Taylor was supposed to ride in the lesson with me this time, but she canceled last minute.
During my first lesson, my legs were weak and I had a hard time keeping my heels down, boots rubbed big sores behind my knees. For this reason, I had no choice but to leave the very tops of my boots unzipped. This is something I’ve never had to do in my life.
Warming up was a little easier today, with no more bad canter transitions. I felt like I could keep my leg at the girth better, but my hands are still always in the wrong position. I don’t follow with my hands and I have a bad habit of locking my elbows.
We warmed up over a few small fences, then my trainer had me start doing some gymnastics. At first he put up a crossrail-bounce-crossrail, then to a 3 stride to a small vertical. Everytime we went through, he added more jumps and made everything progressively higher. By the end it was a crossrail-bounce-crossrail, then a one stride to a vertical, then a two stride to a big, scary oxer. Striker was such a champ for taking me through everytime, flawlessly! I’m still getting jumped out of the tack over every fence. Sticker’s jump is so massive and it doesn’t help that I see the distance I want, but I’m too weak to ride him to it.
After the lesson, while I cooled Striker out, my trainer and I talked about me just starting back riding. I told him the pain from being sore and weak sucks, but the worst part is knowing this all used to come easy. It hurts to think I threw away what skill I had and now I’m back to square one. I hate thinking how much further along I’d be right now if I hadn’t had to stop riding. I think that’s one of the reasons it took me so long to get started again. After all, nobody wants to find out how bad they’ve gotten, its easier to relive old memories when you were good. Without missing a beat, my trainer looked up at me and said “What’s the alternative? Never ride again?”. This man is wise beyond his years. It may seem like a simple, obvious question to everyone else but to me it was exactly what I hadn’t thought of. Now its time to stop living in the past, and start focusing on the future.