Follow my "Unbridled Adventure," a summer project made possible by a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lessons: Day 1

Today can be summarized with 3 P's: paying attention, patience, and perseverance. I had my first three riding lessons today. You might think that my body must be really tired, but actually, it is my mind that is more tired this evening. Kris and Jim are my two trainers, and they are teaching me a lot of things. I am taking dressage lessons. The best way to explain dressage is that it is basic training so that I can learn how to correctly sit on, communicate with, and control my horse. I learned quickly that it is important to work as a team with my horse, and that if something doesn't go quite right, it's my fault (think "user-error"). There was a lot of that today! I got to ride two different horses for my lessons: Bonnie and Kaseem. Before each lesson, I had to go get my horse from the corral, lead it to the barn where the indoor arena is, groom it using a curry comb and brush (dirt under the saddle would be very uncomfortable for the horse), and put on the saddle and bridle. Jim was my trainer for two of my lessons, and Kris taught the other one. She started the lesson by teaching me how to work a horse on a lunge line, which is a really long lead that you use to make the horse walk, trot, or canter in a circle around you. I am also learning that you have to be ambidextrous, meaning that you have to be good at using both hands to do things. I had to hold the lunge line in one hand and the lunge whip in the other, all while paying attention to the horse.  I will try to get a photo of lunge work tomorrow. There is 12 year old girl here this week taking lessons, too. Her name is Selma. She just got a horse named Montana six weeks ago and they are learning to work together. I got to watch one of her lessons, and we took one lesson together. During riding, we worked on walking our horses in different formations like half circles and full circles. We also did some trotting and practiced posting, which means you kind of stand up and sit down so you don't bounce around in the saddle (ouch--for the horse AND rider). So why is my mind so tired? There is a lot to think about and learn! I have to be very focused and listen to directions that the trainer is saying nonstop for a whole hour. I made lots of mistakes, so I had to be patient, not get frustrated, listen to suggestions for how to correct my mistakes and try to do better. And sometimes, I still didn't do it right and had to try again...and again...and again. Perseverance...just like we talk about in school all the time, right? Tomorrow I will have three more lessons. I know it will be a lot of hard work, but I am enjoying the challenge!

Here are some pictures of the place where I am staying and a few of the horses that live here:

This is the building where my room is. I am in the Bird Suite. Guess how it's decorated! 

Kris teaching a kids' lesson in the outdoor arena. The black horse is
Kaseem, who I rode today. 


  1. Horses sound like hard work!

  2. Hi Kim--Jill here, not Ella--I just wanted to add that the photo of the three horses' heads lined up at the fence is lovely! Get lots of rest tonight among the birdies.