Hey, anyone doubting the transformative effects of 11.11.11, check this out: I totally manifested the lesson I wanted on Saturday.

We were idly warming up in open order — or I was, idly; I really shouldn’t speak for all my lesson mates. There is something wonderful, though, about these Saturdays, and the way we all sort of flow in and out of sitting up there chatting, and then actually warming up the horse. The desultory nature of our open order is a direct result of all the schoolies having had the previous lesson to get their feet under them. We were scolded once for taking it for granted that the horse we had would listen to us, just because he or she had been asked to listen to somebody else for an hour. In fact, the odds are that the horse, tired of listening, would be dreaming of its loose box, and privacy, and to take anything for granted when a beastie is thinking of its leisure — well, bad idea.

So there I was, taking some time off from gossiping to work on Connell’s right rein canter depart, and I thought to myself, ‘You know, it would really be fun to ride in pairs again.’ We hadn’t done that in ages — and I didn’t write about it the other time we did do. It is fun! It is exactly like that show I saw in Spain at the Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Equestre!

Yeah, okay: not — but still! It had been great craic, and I wished we could do it again.

Paul called out for us to get in a ride and seemed to be piling a bunch of poles at X. Oh, no! I thought. Not the flying changes thing! We had done that exercise, in the pouring rain, and in twenty tries [probably more like ten] I only got Connell to do it once. I thought, I don’t want to do that again.

And then Paul said, ‘Okay, we’re going to do some formation riding.’ I sat up straighter, and Connell twitched his ears, and we got in our place in the ride. Isn’t that amazing! My delight was, I am sure, completely out of proportion to the rest of the lesson, but I didn’t care. As we began, I wondered if it would be as fun as the last time…

Well, it was fantastic. Connell absolutely loves doing this sort of work. Have I mentioned his [maybe apocryphal] history, that he used to pull a cart? He is already such a cutie, but the idea of him pulling a cart is almost too much to bear. The thing is, when we do this work, it seems like it could actually be true — he is always looking in the correct direction, which is ahead with his outside eye, and towards his equine partner with his inside eye, or however it works. As well, he moves with almost no encouragement from me, and he listens, with almost no effort on my part.

The reason that there is almost no effort on my part is because I am in that blessed, blessed state of not being worried about the horse. This often happens when the jumping is going really well. I am secure in my responsibilities, and I am leaving the horse to his. I ride independently, incorporating, without thought, all of the directives that are generally being shouted from the ground. This past Saturday, I did the ‘inside leg to outside rein’ thing without thinking, and without exactly really knowing what it is. I mean, I ‘get’ what it probably means, and I suppose I could blather my way through some explanation of it in my own words, but the thing is that I ‘got’ it with my body, not my brain, so I think I’ll just leave it there.

Also: totally slowed the rising trot to get Connell in line with his partner, totally speeded up the rising when necessary, totally used my seat to slow him down so that when we met again at C, we were making the turn up the centre line in perfect tandem. OMG! It was so satisfying. Even thinking of it now, I am sitting up straighter in my chair.

We went and went and went, honestly? for at least 35 minutes, if not 45. I had kind of hoped we were going to something in canter, but maybe next week? I made this happen once — I can do it again!

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