#8 She who looks down ends up on the ground
I'm not gonna lie: this whole riding experience would be a lot easier if saddles had seat belts. So many times I was trotting along, minding my own business, and the moment I would look down for a brief second, my horse Libby would stop abruptly and send me nearly toppling over her! Each time, my trainer would observe and calmly remind me, “He who looks down ends up on the ground." Trying to correct your balance is harder than it looks! Where your eyes go, so follows your body. Very true. So if you look down at the ground, eventually that’s where you’re going to land. Bottom line: LOOK UP.
I’m still getting used to the fact that my seat/body-weight is used to increase or decrease the horse's pace. It makes me appreciate being able to just press a gas pedal to drive! At the end of the day it all comes down to balance. I think my horse secretly gets a kick out of reminding me when I’m off balance.
Today, my fifth lesson, we had to go back to "square one" a couple times. I was focusing so hard on remembering everything I'd learned at once (relax my ankle, keep heels down, close hip angle, push lower leg back behind me) that I would forget to breathe. Minor problem. Everything would come undone. My face kept turning red and I was riding very stiff. My trainer had me take my feet out of the stirrups and correctly set my hands, body and legs to reposition my seat. Once I reminded myself that the goal is not to become a world-renowned rider--just to get over my fear--I calmed down.
Lesson for today, don’t look down and remember to breathe! This sounds so simple now that the horse is off sleeping in the barn.
I am told that once you learn how to ride you will remember it forever. Is this true for you? Leave me a comment!
Next: Look Ma, No Hands!