Well, that didn’t go as planned, did it, Andromeda?

Yesterday I had one of the most difficult horseback riding lessons I’ve had yet. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been getting really serious about my riding and been riding 2-4 times a week. I’ve even achieved my riding goal I’ve had since I started learning- which was to learn how to canter! I’ve been riding a great lesson horse because my horse basically didn’t work at all last year so we’ve been getting her fitness (and my own) back to where it needs to be.

Though I love the horse I’ve been riding for lessons, he can be… ridiculous. He spooks a lot and doesn’t seem to trust that his rider isn’t going to put him in to a situation where he’s going to be eaten by a monster. Sometimes I think he’s spooking just because he learned at some point that acting like he’s terrified will get him out of work, but sometimes there is something there he is genuinely afraid of.

Yesterday was one of those days. See, at work we’re getting some of the dead trees cleared out of the fields. So today the guys really set in to work on the big field and they were using chainsaws and heavy equipment. Trees had been falling all morning before it was time for my lesson and so the horses were climbing the walls. We lunged the horse I use for lesson and then tacked him up and I got on. Spent at least fifteen minutes just walking around the arena, trying to keep him focused on me. After a bit he relaxed because I was relaxed. We did some trot work and then some canter work. Then we were doing a dressage test (I like dressage tests even though I don’t really do dressage, because they teach steering and they’re more interesting than just riding around in a circle like I’m in NASCAR or something) and one of the lunge whips had shifted and was poking through the door to the arena on one of our times around.

The horse I was on, who had actually been amazing considering how scary things were outside, FREAKED. Suddenly he leaped to the right in the middle of the dressage test run and I went left.

My first thought was “OH SHIT I’M GOING TO FALL.”

My second thought was “CATCH YOURSELF, IDIOT!”

I quickly threw both arms around the horse’s neck and wrapped both legs around him like I was hugging a barrel. Once he was done his little fit I was, miraculously, still on the horse. I had to climb back in to the saddle about three inches and push myself up, but I stuck that spook and didn’t fall off. A few weeks ago that would have freaked me the hell out and I would’ve tensed up and probably fallen. But my new instructor has really helped me build my confidence and improve my riding a lot. She got me cantering in about 4 lessons after I’d been working toward that goal for years. It’s amazing what a good instructor can do!

Have you had a teacher or coach that gave you a confidence boost and helped you drastically improve? Hit me up on the social media links to the right and tell me about them!