When I first got Rocky, I discovered that I was scared of horse’s speeds on the ground. (Amazing, what I learned I was afraid of, those first six months: mostly of “doing it wrong” and “wrecking his life.” I’m mostly over that now.)
Remember that in traditional riding lessons, you don’t get much time in motion on the ground. You lead them to a crosstie, you groom and tack, you lead them to the arena … and you mount. After your riding session, you repeat those steps, in reverse. It was my first time having a horse trotting and cantering at the end of a string and I was bowled over by the power of it. I’d never even longed a horse before.
We sure have had a lot of walking in our games and our patterns, between thrown shoes and thrush and arthritis and an awkward transition to barefoot that should not have been as fraught with peril and soreness as this one has … combined with my own lack of confidence as a rider, especially out in suburbia (nature trails aren’t as scary as driveways, trucks, and bicycles) … we are the world’s experts at hand-walking and playing Parelli at the walk. And the back. And the halt.
We’re both bored, a word which here means “tired of coming up with creative ways to use obstacles and terrain that don’t overtax what shouldn’t be overtaxed,” and I’m awaiting the arrival of the hoof boots with something bordering on obsession.
I realized recently that I am delighted to be bored. Not only am I no longer afraid of higher gaits, I’m practically panting for the chance to play with them. Even most of our Level 2 patterns that should have been trotted, we interspersed a lot of walking. We can’t do much with liberty right now because he wants to move and that’s not compatible with vet/farrier/trimmer/kinesthetic healer’s orders. We can’t even get out to the round pen because of the evil sharp gravel between Here and There. (come on, boots!)
But we will. And it’s nice to look forward to it.