What’s Your Alternative?

The morning of our lesson, I woke up to a text from Taylor, explaining the excuses why riding isn’t in her best interest right now and that she wouldn’t be going to the lesson. Rather than try to reason with her I simply said “ok”. After that, I turned my attention to my wardrobe struggle. I still haven’t had time to go shopping for riding clothes, so for now I’m stuck wearing my children’s breeches and trying to find riding appropriate shirts in my closet. Don’t get me wrong, the clothes I own are conservative. However, its hard to ride in shirts that are excessively loose or long. Today, I settled for a fitted black sweater and the gray kids breeches. Its was a little warm for a sweater, but I couldn’t bring myself to wear a t-shirt again.

I got to the barn and was surprised to see how busy it was, its usually pretty empty in the morning when I’m out there. I remembered they were all going to a schooling show the next day, so I figured they must be getting ready. However, when I went in the ring for my lesson, I soon realized I had a rather large audience. While I walked Striker around, my trainer told me the girls texted him saying I had the “perfect eq body”. We both laughed and he said “See you’ve already got fans”.

For the first time, since I started riding again, it felt like I had my leg back! I know I’m still far from being back in riding shape, but it felt good not to have my legs all over the place. I also didn’t lose my stirrups at all while we warmed up, which happened frequently in the first two lessons. I can feel myself slowly getting back to where I used to be, as far as equitation goes.

We warmed up over a few fences, like usual, then my trainer had me ride a few lines. I’m still having issues riding Striker to the distance I see, or staying with him during the distances he takes. Though, there were a few times when I was able to sit up, get him to a good spot and stay with him over the jump. At the end of the lesson, my trainer had me do half a course. It was a two stride outside line, then down the diagonal to a scary rolltop, then another outside line. It sounded easy but, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never jumped a roll top and that was enough to throw me off what little game I had. Regardless of my nerves, I gave it my best shot. The first outside line went pretty smoothly, then we got an awkward spot to the roll top. I got jumped out of the tack and kind of fell on his neck. It felt like I knocked the wind out of my chest. I didn’t sit up quickly enough after the roll top, so we did a circle, then took the next outside line. After this, we called it a day.

Sadly, this was my last lesson on Striker for an entire month. His owner is sending him to a dressage barn to learn his flying lead changes. Hopefully I will have improved over fences, by the time he gets back, so I can ride him more effectively.

When I got home, Taylor asked if I was mad at her for her decision not to ride. I told her “of course not”, but after we discussed it a little while, I realized she had the same fears I had. She didn’t wanna find out how much she’s forgotten and how much she still has to learn. I felt it was kind of fitting to pass on the words of my trainer, so I asked “What’s your alternative? Never ride again?”. This simple question seemed to have the same wake up effect on her, as it did me. After we talked a while longer she seems to have it back in her heart again to wanna ride. She’s one of the few people I know who feels the same way about horses as I do, and I’d really hate to see her give up on something I know she loves so much. Plus, its a lot more fun having my best friend with me through all this, instead of doing it alone.

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