Tomorrow is Mom's birthday. It looks like rain so we probably won't get in any riding. In lieu of riding, Brian, Maizie, and I took Mom roller skating this week. She had skated once a week for many years, but she had a serious fall last year and has lost some nerve. We all had a safe, great time at the rink. After witnessing the septuagenarians whizzing past us at top speed doing all sorts of complicated dance steps, I began to think about roller skating ability and riding ability. I was still philosophizing this idea while I was riding Pie the next morning. I happen to come from a family of roller skaters, downhill skiers, and riders. In these activities, fear, tension, and a striving for control actually cause problems. If you have ever been roller skating (not on inlines, but on four wheels) and you see someone who has never skated, they are tense and trying like crazy NOT to move. The tension in their body actually moves the wheels forward in spite of all their efforts to be still. This causes a series of disastrous events most often ending in a slow-motion fall at a standstill. Skis are exactly the same. The more you try not to move the more you slide and move. The skaters at Mom's rink are so loose and calm and fast and relaxed and fearless. They roll, and sway and are like rubberbands. I was thinking of this on the grey, windy morning after our night of skating, when Pie was very, very up. He was shaking his head and jumping and really wound tight. I felt myself become the rubberband that I am when I ride. I realized that somewhere along the way I learned to go with the skates, go with the skis, go with the horse. I give him the reins even though it seems like I should tighten them. I know I can't or I will lose him altogether. I was thinking that I bet those older roller skaters would be good riders!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
meanwhile back in the year one
Here are some funny photos taken at my first schooling show ever. The pictures are dated 9/30/79 on the back. I must have been in 7th grade. I look so mad in these pictures and I know why. I had just been bucked off of Chance. That's right - my first show and I fell off!!! Chance was a school horse who, sadly, had navicular. I hated riding school horses because they always seemed so tired and miserable and I felt that it was my fault they were sad. Chance was the worst, though, because of his pain. My instructor would tell us to canter and whenever I would ask for his left lead, he would make this painful wincing sound and then he would buck. I would fall off EVERY SINGLE TIME. Every week I would pray that I wouldn't be assigned Chance and every week there it would be on the paper in the tack room - Julie - Chance. My heart would sink. My stomach would be in knots. And, then we would come to the canter and off I would go. I had started lessons in June and in September, I was in my first "show", and, of course, I had to ride Chance. The judge called for the canter and I made it around perfectly. Then, I heard it. "REVERSE YOUR HORSES". I knew what was coming. Walk. Trot. Canter...wince...buck...off I went. I was mortified. No one else fell off in the whole show. My instructor told me to get back on which I did, but I was finished. I knew I didn't have the guts to go in there for the other class and get bucked off again. Mom rode in the other class for me. Here she is below on Chance. Of course Chance bucked with her too, but she didn't have any problem staying on! Poor old Chance. He was a flea-bitten grey angel who unwittingly helped me conquer my fears. Thank you dear, sweet Chance.