I am happy to report successful lessons at both big barn and little barn!
My first lesson at big barn was last Wednesday night and I found it rather humorous how nervous I was!! I think it was a combination of a few elements that kind of upped the ante and sent my nerves in a spin. I knew it was going to be a long drive but I wasn’t sure if I would get lost, or if traffic would be horrendous after work so of course I gave myself plenty of wiggle room. I took some goofy directions to get there because I thought I would save time by avoiding the big city. I did, indeed, manage to avoid the big city but instead I drove through a bunch of tiny little towns on back roads, through cornfields… so I’m not sure any time was saved but it was a lovely drive through the countryside. My coworkers were in from out of the country for work so my Costa Rican coworker volunteered to go with me and watch my lesson. I was concerned she would be bored to tears, and she probably was, but it turned out alright in the end.
We pulled into the drive a little ahead of schedule which helped me relax a little bit. The pastures were pretty and the barns and buildings all painted to match. Along the driveway there was a field with a grass arena set up for dressage and another field with some cross country jumps.
I met the trainer and she walked out with me to grab the horse I would be riding. She seemed really nice- asked me about my previous experience, my riding goals, and why in the world I would drive all the way there to ride if there was something closer. I easily recounted my previous riding experience but struggled to articulate my goals and clumsily skirted the issue about a more local barn. Note to self- legit lesson programs might actually ask that you set some goals and work towards them! oops. I ended up mumbling that there are no dressage barns in Quasi-South and how tough it was to find a place that clicked and how my riding skills were pretty rusty. Then I felt self-conscious like the trainer was probably thinking ‘great, so you drove a million miles to come to my eventing barn as a plan B because you can’t figure out how to fit in at the eventing barn closer to you and your only goal is to ‘shake off the rust’ ?!’ yipes…
I reminded myself to keep an open mind. While it is kind of true that choosing an eventing barn is a plan B since there really are not any dressage barns with lesson programs, it doesn’t mean that I can’t or don’t want to learn to event!!! I just know I’ll have some fears to work through to get there. Also, I may need to give some thought to those riding goals.
I rode Louie, a charming pinto percheron cross, who took excellent care of me for my first lesson. I don’t know if he will be the horse I will always ride or if he was just an amicable test of my riding abilities. I’m sure either way I will be thrilled. I really liked the way the trainer worked with me. Her directions were clear and she was very patient. I could tell she knew her stuff, and she didn’t let me get away with anything either, even if it was my first time out- which I appreciated. She was complimentary, told me that whomever had trained me before had built a solid base, so I was very happy to hear that even if the subtext was that I have quite a ways to go! 😉
Riding is a humbling sport where proficiency can mean everything and nothing at the same time.
I’ll continue taking lessons at little barn for awhile too. I need time in the saddle and it should give me more of a chance to practice what I am learning at both places.
It is supposed to be blazing hot this week and I am volunteering two nights at the therapy barn so next lesson at big barn is going to be on Saturday when temps should be much cooler.