I cannot remember coming out of a lesson as pleased and happy as I did last night.

Last week, my main goal was creating a more positive attitude, which I can check off 100%. I felt great going in, especially since the windy weather I was preparing for died down. The evening was perfect. The briskness in the air pepped Riley up with a forward, manageable energy. Most of the barn was away at a show with Barn Owner/Head Trainer, so it was quiet and serene.

There's normally a group lesson that happens during my private, but since St. Trainer was manning the ship, she asked if I was comfortable riding with the group for the full hour. Happily, I said I was game to ride with the two younger girls and their ponies.

From the last lesson we had, I could only go up, so up we went.

The more I ride Riley, the more I'm intensely grateful to ride a mature horse with a nice brain. It does so much for my confidence and allows me to hone in on how I can improve myself. Short version, we did get to jump a little crossrail, working on straightness, creating a good pace and starting to train my eye again.

The lesson was crafted around opening up Riley's stride to get a nice, forward pace by getting off his back and reinforcing my leg with a light tap of the crop. The crossrail we went over several times on the left rein was positioned at the quarter line, angled about 45º from centerline.

A baptism by fire is still a baptism, right?

Many new things happened during this lesson.

I rode in the middle of a group lesson with about five other riders in the ring. Not a problem, but more to keep track of.

A cold front brought intense winds, so the entire barn was rattling with spooky monsters according to Riley.

I went in with a sparkling attitude, brimming with excitement and optimism. Truly, this is the best I've ever felt going into a ride.

I fell off.

My second ride back was a pleasure!

This time, I rode another senior, been-there-done-that eq horse named, Gunner. He's a lovely, dark chestnut with an adorable face and a quirky personality. If I thought Riley was behind my leg, Gunner was even more so. Luckily, we spent the majority of the lesson focusing on getting some quality gaits out of him.

Riding Diary – 10/15/21

This week, after about five years out of the saddle, I got back on the horse.

My emotions leading up to the lesson were high. Sometimes, I'd catch myself tearing up imagining what it would be like again. I felt like a kid again, bursting with pure energy.

Other times, I'd desperately wrack my brain for dusty memories. Did I remember how to tack up? What all did I need for a walk to canter transition? Often, I'd have small epiphanies and remember that I do know how to do this. It's just going to be a matter of unlocking my muscle memories and being open to teaching.

In the first grade, my mother made a terrible mistake. She signed me up for horseback riding lessons. Since my father was going to be traveling for several weekends and she worried I'd miss him, she sought a distraction. Previously, dancing tap and ballet only held...