My Wednesday night lesson was a bit of a frustration.
At the barn there are a group of schooling horses available to lesson students who do not have their own horse. They try to mix things up so we all get to ride many different horses but sometimes the sheer size of their lesson program and day camp limits the selection. I usually ride either Sonny or Tia. I have also ridden Sprat and Cowboy once each as well. It is a curious thing the preferences you build- especially so quickly. I have only been riding at this barn for about 5 months now and I definitely have my favorites.
The very first horse I rode at this barn was Tia. Tia is a western convert like myself, and was actually some kind of regional champion in western pleasure before she came to this dressage barn. Tia is a pretty little bay quarter horse, emphasis on the “little”. She is a schoolmaster. Friendly, forgiving, responsive, well-trained, and willing. It is always a pleasure riding her and I have had my best lessons on her. There are a few catches- 1. She is too small for me. 2. She is the “easy way out”.
Sonny (pictured above) is almost the exact opposite of Tia. He is the second horse I have ridden at this barn, and though he is also a western convert, the similarities stop there. Sonny is a tall, strapping, chestnut overo paint gelding. He gives nothing away for free. He is pushy, stubborn, tricky, and opinionated. I try very very hard not to let out an audible sigh when my instructor tells me I will be riding Sonny. I consistently have a frustrating lesson on him- I can almost plan on it. I already know most of it is my own fault. He is probably a little bit too much horse for me. I also think he is a bit more sensitive and a bit less forgiving than most of the other horses so when I accidentally scream cues he does his own thing and when I whisper them, he ignores them. If only I knew how to ask just right I have faith he is waiting with open ear.
This past Wednesday night I rode Sonny in my lesson. It was a pretty nice night so we used the outdoor arena. The lesson would have been tough enough for me with Sonny- even though he was in a fairly agreeable mood- but it was made even tougher by the girls that were schooling in the same arena separate from my small lesson group. Now, I know I should be able to handle this. I mean we are only talking a few extra horses but because they were doing a completely different thing from my lesson group it created a traffic mess that I couldn’t help but feel was a little unfair. When did I become snotty and entitled? dang. The thought actually crossed my mind during the lesson that the other girls should always yield to me, no matter what the scenario, simply because it was MY scheduled lesson time! hooo boy I almost had to slap some sense into myself.
Needless to say, despite the moderately successful ride I had on Sonny I left the arena feeling beat up and disappointed. Hopefully I can give myself the attitude adjustment I need before my next lesson!
…I might also be fervently wishing for a break from Sonny next week…