I have been back to riding regularly for close to two years now.... Take a breath, read the title of my blog and read that sentence again.
Sunday mornings grew into Sundays and Fridays as the days lengthened and the business climate warmed up. Riding from 6-7pm on Fridays was just late enough that the sun was angling down and the trees by the arena stretched their shadows our way and the crepuscular breeze distracted the flies from their task of annoying the horses.
I like the people who run the place. I like the other riders. I like the way the horses are treated and I've really enjoyed feeling at home in the saddle again.Unfortunately, there's no covered arena or lights. This barn is attached to a Country Club, and the residents of the surrounding hills value their peace so we are limited to the daylight nature gives us. We made it into mid-October and had to concede that it was too dark to see what we were doing and we needed flash-lights afterwards to take the horses down to the paddock.
The Sunday classes are signed up through an arrangement with the local college's community class schedule of six to eight week sessions. The last session ended before Thanksgiving and I skipped the Sunday closest to Halloween because I have no interest in dressing up or playing games. I want to ride, strive, learn, improve, be in tune with balance and cadence of the horse, not with the egg on the end of my spoon. Yes, I accept that balance and cadence help keep eggs on spoons, but for what?
The direction of the class has shifted more towards jumping, which is not my preferred focus, but can be part of an interesting whole. The grids and courses of low poles include work on transitions through trot and canter and changes of direction and bend. The Hunter-Jumper approach was initially balance by some alternating lessons including dressage, or schooling flat-work. That has become a rarity. In fact, the last lesson had a course with instructions to trot the first grid of poles and then canter before the next one. Not one person was corrected for being on the wrong canter lead. There was a downward transition to walk at the end of the arena before continuing in trot over a pole across the diagonal. I feel as though the instructor "dumb-ed us down" and set up a low expectation, with a built in fix. It's laughable because they call us the advanced group and her background is in dressage. Every one else seems happy, so it's not my place to complain.
This past Thanksgiving weekend, the weather was beautiful but I didn't have any enthusiasm for a potentially disappointing ride on Sunday morning and so I didn't go. I've been feeling disgruntled and dissatisfied with myself and the loss I feel.
I will go back this weekend, even though, or maybe because it's pouring rain. A little wet stuff shouldn't stop an English Rider.