Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm actually an INTERMEDIATE rider now?

I finally thought to ask my trainer what she thinks my level of riding is now, and she said intermediate — and the reason I wouldn't be advanced, she said, is because I can't just hop on any horse.  Well, that's fair — I haven't ridden a horse other than Panama in probably close to 4 years — but I was pleasantly surprised.  I still haven't gotten over thinking of myself as a beginner.  Even though I know I've come a long ways since I started taking lessons a few years ago, I still struggle with a lot of insecurity regarding my riding abilities.  There are a number of teenage girls at my barn, and I am so envious of their velcro butts.  Those girls are amazing riders, and I wish I could ride like they do.

But back to my original point: I was pleasantly surprised to hear that my trainer considers me an intermediate rider, and that if I was more comfortable riding other horses I could actually perhaps be considered advanced.  I mean, when I asked that question I was mostly just hoping I was out of beginnerhood!

My trainer and I also talked briefly about how far Panama has come.  It started because we were talking about spurs (which I haven't used so far — more on that later).  She said that in general, the only horses that don't need them are the "crazy" ones — and she said, "Panama isn't like that anymore."  She used that word — anymore — several times, which prompted me to reflect on how far he has come.  She agreed, and said that both of us are exactly where she's want us to be.

This was reassuring, not only because of what it says about my abilities, but also because it validates what I've been thinking about Panama.  I've noticed many times how good he's been lately, how much more grown up and relaxed he seems when we ride, and how we have fewer bad or unfocused days now than we used to.

I'm glad I checked in with my trainer on this — it's good to know that both he and I are progressing as we should be!



At October 9, 2011 at 6:31 PM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

Congratulations and good for you! I don't know what category I would fall in. As I too only ride my own horse and he is a hard one to ride. Not that he's bad he just has such a BIG lofty trot it's a real challenge to stay in the saddle. I am getting better all the time at riding him and feel more confident too. Gilly is 8 1/2 years old now, so he is more laid back and Panama is 6? Is that right? So he is getting more mature too and getting over the silly youngster ways.
You and your boy have come a long way too, be proud of all the work you have done together!!!! :-)

At October 30, 2011 at 11:39 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks Jane! Yes, Panama turned 6 this summer. I've been thinking lately about every time I ride him how much more mature he's acting. He's well behaved in lessons, doesn't fuss about things that would have encouraged "silly younger ways" in years past. (Examples: riding by someone sitting on the rail today, dogs running around, etc.) He still has his "baby days," as I call them, but they are getting to be less frequent. Thank heavens... Silly Arab. :o)


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