When Leah first told me about the German dressage master who comes to her stable to teach special clinics, I thought that there was no possible way in hell that I would ever, ever consider doing such a thing. I am not competitively inclined. I have come to the horse in early middle age. I am aware of my own mortality. The sky is not the limit as far as money goes nor is time. But Leah told me that I would learn a lot from a lesson with Jürgen, so I signed up for a semi-private with another student. By the end of Saturday’s lesson, I was entranced. I could tell that I’d made progress with my chronic pitching-forward problem (While riding, I pitch forward when I feel out of balance in a pitiful attempt to protect my vitals which is intuitive for us humans but worthless for riders). Jürgen urged me to come back the next day, telling me that he could help me and work with me some more. I was so high from the fun of the lesson that I said Sure! Yeah! OK!
Have I mentioned that I have a certain tendancy towards impulsiveness? It’s served me well on occaision — I would never have taken overseas trips and thus broadened my horizons without The Tendancy. My husband I would still be living in different cities had I not taken a plunge or two. It’s the reason I own Gabby. Yes, yes, there have been some mistakes also, like the purchase of the car that broke down as soon as I got it off the lot (I’m not kidding) and some other matters that nothing will induce me to divulge here, there, or anywhere else.
So gleeful and feeling mighty fine, I saddled up for Sunday’s lesson. It was more – a LOT more – than I expected. I am masticating on the bit and working up some slight amount of froth between my lips. Something has happened and I have no idea what. I am thoughtful and a bit nervous at the moment and cancelled today’s private lesson to have some space in my head to think. But I don’t know what to think.
The lesson was Big. That’s the best description I can muster at the moment. And while I wasn’t cowed or scared of the teacher (he need no amplificaiton for his voice and he radiates authority and confidence) because he’s obviously got everyone’s best interest at heart, I could not find it in myself to refuse any instruction. And by the end of the class, I could feel the pinpricks of tears behind my eyes — but there was No Way in Hell I was going to cry in front of the dressage teacher even though my glasses were steaming up and I stammered once while trying to repeat instructions.
So — am I still a Timid Rider? That is how I define myself. A Timid Rider. But am I still timid if I rode Gabby over poles (which she doesn’t like) at a trot and kept doing it on being instructed to do so even though I was scared and not at all sure that I wanted to be where I was? Gabby is big. Big. Really big. And when she trots over a pole, I felt like we were jumping. I even asked: “Did we jump? Did we? We jumped, right? Didn’t we jump?” The spectators just laughed at me because no, we didn’t jump.
But goodnight, her steps are big because she’s big. And when she trots over those poles and breaks into a canter because she’s nervous and I’m nervous and I try to fall forward and Jürgen yells “Sit Back! Sit Back!” — and I realize that death is NOT imminent, that I’m scared sure, but NOT scared of dying — then I feel like I’m someone else.
I might be impulsive but I’m still scared of the deep end of the pool.