There are, of course, when some days are a diamond (most other days are a pile of poop, but won't go into that in this post). I do, when i can afford it, attend a local 'riding school'. Wish that i could afford it more often.
When self first turned up at the school, several months ago, my notion of 'horse riding' was relatively basic - i.e. Get on, use heels to make it go forwards, reins to steer it, stay on; get off when ready.
My tutor, Allie, is a very experienced Dressage and Eventing rider whose base attitude seems to be "Aim for perfection".
Which isn't as easy as it is to say. Plus the fact that Perfection, of course, is a subjective concept - depends on a personal view point. There was a time, many years ago, when i did attempt to "strive for perfection" buuut, time has passed - now work on the premise of "the best i can do under the circumstances" (which, actually, still creates a modicum of frustration).
Doesn't mean that i can't recognise, and appreciate, those who 'get close' to perfection. In this instance, 'horseriding'. It gives me great pleasure to watch "Olympic" standard Dressage and Show Jumping. Doesn't even mean that i can't 'aim', at least, for that sort of standard - though am well aware that my time to achieve that is somewhat limited; as is the finance required (in other words, haven't the finance to buy a suitable space, a couple of excellent horses, feed them, nurture them: live, breathe and work with them 10 hours per day) .
One hour every three or four weeks is a bittuva handicap ... heh.
So, back to last Thursday's experience.
Allie seems to be pleased with my progress so far (though she is a hard taskmaster, and compliments are few). We (Allie, me, and the horse) have progressed from the basic 'walk, trot, canter' around the whole of the training circuit; then to odd little exercises like - from a standing start, trot 30 paces, halt, revolve around his hindquarters three times, trot back to original start place, revolve 3 times ... repeat several more times ... to - attempting to get him to "trot on the spot" (Piaffe). Basically means 'telling' him with heels to trot forward , but at the same time holding him back with the reins. Not as easy as it sounds. He's a big, heavy, horse - 16 hands (which is about 5'9" at the withers) and, obviously, has a 'mind of his own'. He's never done it completely successfully before, also a bit 'lazy'.
There's also something that is difficult to describe, but am beginning to understand - not only a 'physical' connection with the control of the horse; but also a mental connection, an 'understanding' between rider and horse, which only comes with time. In 'high standard' dressage - the 'control' movements of the rider should be almost imperceptible.
The photos are 'snapshots' from a three minute video; and the 'perceptive' reader will notice that am riding without stirrups as, for some reason, find it more 'comfortable'.
I could go on and on, mainly because horses - and the interaction between humans and other animals - is one of the few topics that fascinate and interest me in detail - but will close this post here.
[there is a rather sad Postscript to this day. When arrived home after the lesson: found that some animal had killed and eaten Tck Tckk, my chook. Will write more about that in a later post].
Another PS. www.elcaballeroblanco.com (for those interested in astonishing horsemanship)