Nine days. Nine. N-I-N-E. That is how many days there were in between my lesson last week and my lesson this week. Work, New Orleans, and Norovirus keep me out of the saddle on the days sandwiched between my lessons.
Let me just say that I cannot be out of the saddle that long and expect any sort of decent performance. I felt like Elaine in the Seinfeld episode where she thinks she is dancing well at a party but looks like a hot mess on the dance floor. My aids were not coordinated, reins were too long, legs were in the wrong place, and my weight seemed to sway from side to side and always be in the wrong place.
Ike tried testing the waters during our warm up. “Hmm, Mom has been away for a few days, can I get away with snatching the reins from her hands?” Ms. C made us stay at walk and stabilize our connection before we were allowed to trot. On a normal day, Ike and I sync up after just a couple of minutes. It was 15 minutes and counting and Ike and I were still having discussions… No, Ike, you may not snatch the reins from my hands. My reflexes were a bit slow, so big boy would get the best of me and Ms. C would fuss that I was a day late and a dollar short. Grrr. I hate when I know what I need to do, but for whatever reason, cannot execute appropriately. Can I blame it on my weakened state from the virus? Or am I just a goober who can’t get her act together after being out of the saddle for a few days? Sadly, the goober answer is closest to the truth whether I like it or not.
We also struggled to find our rhythm with the trot. Again, cue the Elaine video where the movement and the music are nowhere close to being in the same neighborhood, oh heck, they might not even be in the same state. It didn’t seem to matter if I tried sitting the trot or posting. I half halted until my carpal started flaring, and we were still a quarter beat off from a solid rhythm. Ms. C kept telling me to change my posting rhythm and half halt to get Ike to wait for me. Excellent in theory, usually sufficient in practice, but today we couldn’t even meet expectations. Another Grrr moment.
Our best work for the day came in our canter work and then in our lateral work. Go figure. This is typically where we struggle. We nailed our canter transitions even without me carrying a whip. Yea! Starting to ask for canter with just my seat rather than seat+leg+whip. Do we always get it? Nope, but Ike tries and today we succeeded. It is something we need to master since I don’t want to have to carry the whip as a crutch forever. We also had success with our leg yield and shoulder in today while tracking in both directions. Yes, the left is easier than the right, but the right is coming along. Ike is strong enough and balanced enough to start schooling lateral movements. This time last year, we would have run into the fence had I asked for a leg yield.
Things are starting to fall into place. Hoping we come out of winter even stronger as a pair and at least capable of establishing a rhythm. Patience, Alison, patience. All in due time, after all, no one masters all the dance steps in a day.