Friday, March 15, 2013

Starting From Scratch

It was last March, just around this time, that I was learning how to be a decent partner to this magical animal. Merlin spent the first few months of our relationship at Riding Right Farm in south Cambridge. I loved having him there and I loved the instruction and people I was lucky enough to encounter there. It was such a necessary step. Being fairly new to the world of horses (I still consider myself brand new) I was timid, actually, I was terrified of being hurt. To have a safe and encouraging environment with solid footing and rules was exactly what I needed.

Both of us were starting from scratch. My entire career as a riding student was only in English and only up to the most basic of beginner levels. I started in college, just one lesson a week and the occasional show in the novice class. I didn't jump fences or rails, I walked and trotted other people's horses in circles. Then after years out of the saddle I started again at Riding Right as a student, and still a beginner. I learned so much about seat, confidence, hands, bits, and fitting tack proper. The lessons were invaluable. And I will never forget the summer day Hollie told me our lesson would be a trail ride together through hay fields at sunset. I was on a 14 hand Haflinger, and I think it was that ride that had me falling in love with smaller drafts.

I left my corporate job at Orvis four months later, for a lot of reasons. If it wasn't for this horse and what he showed me I could be, I'm not sure I could believe it was possible. He was and is a dream come true. He has done so much for me, and asks for so little in return. The time I spend with him is without measure, somehow horse sweat and forest paths have the ability to freeze the world in place, making summers last decades. I want another summer of trail rides and visits to friends farm on horseback or in our little red cart, but we are starting from scratch again. We both need to work up our bodies, trust, and partnership after a winter mostly out of practice.

I look forward to every lesson, even if they now happen on my winding road or a neighbors' field. I'm out of the arena and the land of velvet helmets but not ungrateful for them. If it wasn't for Riding Right I would not be the rider I am learning to become.


Blogger lisa said...

I've started taking riding lessons again at the age of 29 (okay well I was 29 when I started in October) and completely relate to your joy while on your horse. I learned how to canter the other night and I'm still on cloud nine. I dream of having my own horse someday (working on getting out of the city first). But until then I am thrilled to learn in a safe environment and be able to master an amazing set of skills that I will carry with me.

March 15, 2013 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

After you finish your current book, I think you need to write a Merlin-inspired one. 'Cause he's obviously given you tons of inspiration.

March 15, 2013 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger phaedra96 said...

Every day contains a new lesson to learn...if one is open to the learning. The day I stop finding something new....I will be a participant in my funeral. And hopefully, I will be learning new things!

March 15, 2013 at 6:28 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

oh man, I saw the title to this post and I totally thought something happened to Merlin. Like I wanted to cry (its been one of those days).

I am so relieved and excited for you guys to get back in the saddle.

March 15, 2013 at 7:30 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

Winston S. Churchill - "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." Woman in this case. :-) SO TRUE!

March 15, 2013 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

You and Merlin are a team. The longer and more you ride him the better and closer the relationship. He will take you to a special place...the movement of a horseback ride is like home to me. It just feels so right, and good. The speed of a horse is like no other transportation. You are so blessed with Merlin.

March 15, 2013 at 11:28 PM  

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