Kissing Noises

I learned to trust my horse a little more today. My coach had us focus on two exercises.

She had us trot a figure eight through some empty jump standards and over poles. (Today, I learned that they are called standards)

She also had us trot around the arena and do a twenty-meter circle in each corner. Something about that last exercise — or it could have been the four hours of YouTube that I binged on before our lesson — gave me a huge aha moment. I developed the trust that his body was going where I told it. I felt his shoulders leading, and the tension that I’ve kept in his neck finally release. We did circles, and that’s a big deal! Once I had that moment, I felt so much tension slough away.

My coach asked if I was ready to canter him yet.

I told her that I wanted to canter him on the longe line first and develop a strong voice command, so I didn’t have the half an arena super trot while he tries to figure out what I want (while I’m scared out of my mind and not really wanting it, especially the more super his trot becomes). I told her how I’ve been trying to get him to canter, but he just speeds up his trot. A smart coach, she gets out the longe line and sees if she can get him to canter.

Guess who cantered with one little kiss sound? Today I learned you’re supposed to ask for a canter with a kiss. Shouting “CANTER” means absolutely nothing, but a tiny little kiss sound means CANTER. I didn’t make the rules! I’m not sure how I never learned the kiss command before, but at least I know it now.

When will I be ready to canter him? Probably soon. My priorities this week are to:

  1. Practice riding with a crop under my thumbs to keep my hands from waving around like an idiot.
  2. Trot over poles until I get over it. (haha)
  3. Trot between standards until they become less scary. (Yea, they scare me.)
  4. Learn how to make amazing kissing noises at Max while he’s on the longe line.

I didn’t fall off!!!

Wednesdays are lesson days. I thought we were ready for our lesson. I couldn’t ride as much during the week because I felt sick to my stomach, but the couple rides I had were pretty good. Last night, Max and I were able to trot over a pole, circle back, trot over, circle, trot over, with nary a blink.

Today, we went OVER the pole and landed with a great little canter. I am not ready to canter, no sir, please just keep at the trot. I threw my hands and legs in every wrong direction possible and started yelling, “HELP ME!” I’ve cantered Max twice, involuntarily, and both times were a disaster. To be fair, I’ve snuck in two or three strides when I felt confident and headed straight at a wall, but nothing serious. My trainer saved me. She took over the brain operating. I just did what she said, and whew, everything slowed down and was O-K.

She didn’t make us do anything else after that. We walked around and over poles forever, then she had us give her another trot. Max’s trot was extended, fast, and bouncy today. If I asked him to slow it down, he would go from full speed to barely moving. I would have taken the barely moving, but he didn’t want to stay there. I tried to just slow my post, but the pep in his step just sent my butt straight up the moon.

My brain has tried to overthink this all day, but it just felt like an off day. We just need to keep practicing, and breathing, and practicing breathing. I didn’t fall off, and that’s good enough!