Changing of the Guard, Horse Edition

Adventures in Saddle Seat

Enjoy the ride.

 

For context. When I had this lesson, my state had no confirmed cases. I have since pulled up the drawbridge. For amusement. Cattening the curve, courtesy of Anne Marie Darling, @amdarling, via Twitter. And now back to our regular programming.
~~~
 

 
Rodney had settled into a program that involved travel for schooling on the weekends, and relatively lighter days during the week. So, I wouldn’t be missing much if I spent a day at Stepping Stone Farm having a lesson [Have You Got All Day? Anatomy of A Saddle Seat Lesson].

During our last few lessons, Sam made it clear that he was done with fancy prancing. He’d motor around a bit for old time’s sake. If I wanted to continue in this manner, I could go find another horse, thank you very much.

Enter Optimus.

I’ve written about him before [Going In Cold]. He really is a good dude. He’s also … conservative with his energy. I knew this. I even almost believed it. Enough so that I could just about wrap my mind around going straight to a “new” horse without a warm-up lesson on Sam. It was a close play at the plate. There was stress messaging to Coach Courtney that morning. How can you want & not want something so badly at same time? But that is a question for another day.

Riding Optimus would also give me a chance to practice with a double bridle, which saddle seat calls a show bridle. Sam hung his up years ago, back when he retired from suit classes.

And on to the lesson.

I got on. He stood. Thank you, horse [Sam I Am].

I asked him to trot. He picked up a western jog. I laughed. ASB Western anyone?

I sat up. I said. C’mon, let’s do this. He said, Okay.

I remembered my previous lesson with him [Learning From Youth]. I thought about the energy going up. I thought about asking him to stay together every stride. He said, Okay.

It was a good lesson. I rode well. Partly, life in a hunt seat saddle is not ruining everything about saddle seat. Partly, Optimus made it easy to ride well by rewarding me for doing the right thing. I didn’t have to thump or nag or insist. All I had to do was ask.

Moving forward, I have embraced the emotional support paradigm for my saddle seat lessons [And We’re Back]. I still wish I was wild and daring and willing to hop on the flashy ASB pinto who may or may not behave [Theory v. Reality 1, TvR 2]. Alas, that is not me (not I?). Or, at least, that is not me, at this moment, in this place. I will ride the kind, forgiving lesson horses who help me find my mojo. Then, take that back to my horses, where I need to be the adult in the room.
 

 
[Going In Cold]

About Optimus by his young owner [What Riding Means To Me by Lizzy Plaia, Guest Post].

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Categories: Horses, Lesson, Saddle Seat

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