I feel terrible because I haven't written anything this entire semester. The thing is, I really haven't enjoyed my riding class this semester. The school's barn got a new trainer and I don't like her. At the beginning of the semester, she picked on me constantly. Yes, my heels are near-level. They are telling me that they don't want to go lower, yet I have a remarkably secure seat both on the flat and over fences. She wants me in a chair seat so that I can bang on my horse's back when I post like the rest of the class and she wants me to ride all forward and silly-like. There are people in my class who shouldn't even be cantering (let alone holding reins because of their atrocious hands), yet she told me that I wasn't allowed to jump until I could see my toes past my knees and lock my leg (not in those words, but that was the result). She also told me that I had to post without stirrups--one motion that, for some reason, consistently strains my hip. She wouldn't leave me alone until I did and I was upset because my hip started hurting. One day, we were working patterns on the flat and someone forgot to change diagonals after changing directions. She called out the student's mistake and then asked the rest of us, who were lined up and watching, if we understood why a change of diagonal was needed at that point. I honestly thought it was a rhetorical question because no one in the class had any excuse not to know why. No one else answered either, but she decided to make me feel stupid by personally asking me the question again. I would have given her a good explanation, but I didn't feel that I should give her more than a nod's response for such a ridiculous question that had no purpose other than to try and embarrass me. I was so close to dropping the class and demanding a refund.
The school's barn also got rid of two of my favorite horses, Bugsy and Jasmine. Bugsy left with the trainer who left, and I think Jasmine went back to her old home for a while. I've been on Chloe, the huge Clydesdale, so many times this semester. I also rode Rascal a lot at the beginning of the semester.
The other day, I had to jump Chloe. I'm actually getting pretty good with her. I used to be nervous about riding her, and I was honestly scared to death the first time I had to jump her. She's just so big...and...er...gigantic. I'm starting to get used to her massive strides and her way of thinking, so I've had a lot of good rides on her. When I jumped her last Monday, we took a line of jumps and Chloe had a hard time doing the line because I don't think she's ever done a bunch of close jumps before (that's how our new trainer made it sound) and because it was a small stride for her. She ended up handling everything pretty well. We didn't have many problems at all until we did jumps that were far apart. The first jump was rather unappealing to Miss Chloe because, although it was really low and she cantered beautifully up to it, she slammed on her horsey brakes faster than I ever thought she could. It was such an amazing change--she was moving so powerfully with me following closely, then suddenly she stopped and, for a brief moment, I was still accelerating.
Thanks to my solid lower leg and quick reaction time, I moved less than double the height I would have while rising the trot before shifting my weight back and settling into the saddle. We restarted the course and did it quite happily before ending for the day.
During another lesson, Barney gave me a ride that I'll never forget. We were working over ground poles, and Barney refused to go into a certain corner. Our trainer decided to help by standing in his chosen path and, later, standing right in front of the pole. What did jumping-minded Barney do when his ground pole was blocked? Well, he sure didn't wait for our trainer to move out of our way. He took an alternative route--the huge jump off to the right side of the pole. I thought it was hysterical. Our trainer was scared to death because she didn't know Barney could jump and because she didn't think we'd make it over because we were so close to the larger jump when he took off. I could just tell that he was going to do it, and it felt absolutely amazing. Well, it's not like I had any choice of what was going to happen to me; either I was going over the jump with him or he was going to slam on the brakes and send me over by myself. There wasn't any time for my brain to interfere, just pure reaction and smooth movement. I'm striving to achieve that state of mind every time I ride.
And I've been on so many horses this semester whom I've been "warned" about--he's panicky, he's going to take off, hang on tight--and had wonderful rides on. Our new trainer has actually complimented me a lot for my rides on the school horses who tend to explode with other people. She said she was very surprised at their calm behavior. She also complimented me a lot for my ride on Chloe the other day, saying that I stuck with her beautifully. At this point, I doubt I'm going to ride next semester because of lack of time and money and because I've had a sort of love-hate relationship with this semester.
I saw my Wellaphone tonight and I swear she's more beautiful than ever. I love her so much.