Saturday, July 31, 2010

So it's not a unicorn - a Joy post

I've always liked horses. From afar anyway. Used to draw them, like the unicorns. I thought it might be nice to ride a horse someday. Last year when I got some birthday money from Grammy, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do more than get some horse riding lessons. That's the first time it ever happened. (Thank you, Grammy!) So I planned on it.

I didn't get around to it until July. I'm doing English style riding. It was kind of weird the first time, though I wasn't scared of the horse. Second time was okay - learning a little bit more. The third time I started feeling a little bit comfortable riding. That's good.

When I get there, I groom the horse: I brush its face and legs with the soft brush, and with the coarse brush I brush its mane and its back and its tummy and its tail; then I have to pick and brush its feet (this picture) - it only has shoes in the front, so I don't pick the feet that don't have shoes, but I brush all of them - you only pick around the shoe and not the inside of the foot (called the frog); and then I put on the saddle and my helmet; and then we put on its bridle - I put the bridle on on my own for the first time. And then I ride the horse. I lead it out, walking on its left side, holding the reins with my right hand because all their horses are trained as if people are right handed. And then I ride the horse. And I bring it back and groom the horse again, clean up after it if it poops (which she hasn't let me do yet: if he pees you have to bleach it and all this kind of stuff). And then I give him treats! While I'm grooming him the second time, sometimes he sniffs at me cause he expects to find a treat, but I don't give it to him until after I'm done grooming him.

The biggest problem I had last time I rode, my feet kept trying to go farther into the stirrups and you're supposed to keep the balls of your feet on the stirrups so your heels can sink down as far as possible - helps with balance.

I'm learning that you have to look where you want to go, not at the ground or at the horse - keeping my arms at an obtuse angle. And I'm kind of excited that next time I will get to ride a different horse - not the gentlest one.

After having horse riding lessons three times, I would counsel anyone who has horse riding lessons to not skip a week. It's been going well. It's interesting: it's not all dreamy and floaty like I thought it would be; it's some hard work. And that's the reason you shouldn't skip any lessons because every week you gain some more muscle. I could see progress between my second and third lessons because I hadn't skipped a week, and didn't between my first and second because I had to skip one. When I tried posting, I actually got my bum off the horse this time. It was amazing. This time I could almost do the half-seat ride while last time it was ridiculous.

It was funny - this list time when I was done riding the horse, I felt like I was trying to get my sea legs back. I didn't feel like the ground felt quite right, like there should have been a horse beneath me instead of the ground. Does that sound like a convert? I dunno. I'm probably not going to have any lessons beyond my fourth for a long time.

So it's nice to have a little dream come true. It's nice to have Derrill and Hyrum come and watch sometimes. And I don't know if I'll get back to it or not. Might be kinda nice to know a horse all of its life and then ride it, might be kinda cool, but ... I never know if I'm in for that kind of work. Maybe once I've had all my kids I'll know.

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