I arrived promptly for my first riding lesson in several decades.
I pulled up the long drive and turned down my radio that had been blasting Sarah Vaughan’s rendition of Day In – Day Out. I didn’t want to spook Rosie before meeting her.
Looking at a potentially electrified fence I decided two days of lightning bolts were quite enough for me. I shouted, “Is this thing off” to the nearby barn. A muffled “Yes” was my reply, so I ducked under the wires and off I went.
When I originally heard there was the possibility of riding a Percheron my medieval radar went up. Percheron’s were used by armored knights during the Middle Ages, and that was of interest. Just the Lit major in me I guess.
My farm in CNY is kind of like living in one of those fortresses in the Middle Ages. It is well bejeweled and has all the romance and panache of a fairy tale – but for all realistic rationale it is more like a chic camping experience in the shell of a former barn. We have dubbed it “the castle”.
I made my way into the stable and the two horses that stood before me looked nothing like the mares that were sent to me by way of email. In the photo they looked like midget ponies rather than the massive beasts that stood in front of me. I must say I was rather impressed – especially since Rosie was the biggest.
After my brushing lesson, Horse Master Reyna put the saddle on Rosie. This is where the fun begins.
I often wonder, when bored, if the Maker of all Things, and His angels, tune in to my Heavenly network, DE (Divine Entertainment), to see just how this Diva will make it through each day.
Hey, if Oprah can have her own network, so can I.
I am confident the substance I brush off my shoulders now and then is not sporadic dandruff, but most certainly angelic popcorn dust! I looked up at the barn ceiling, and a little of that dust got in my left eye.
I winced. The angels snickered.
Well, it seems my legs are a bit extended. I’ve always been aware of that.
I suspected this may be an issue today. Horse Master Reyna just kept looking and shaking her head – “Wow, you do have long legs don’t you?”
She pulled out the stirrups to lengths I do not think they had ever seen. I heard mention of some additional hole poking in the future as they were being adjusted.
Then there was the saddle. I have my own suspicions about that, so we will leave this tidbit till later.
We headed out to the “ring” cause this Diva had not been on a horse for years, and I did not want my freshly obtained Horse License revoked from the doctor just yet; I vowed to behave.
Riding the ring. Well, this certainly would be a sight for all those who dubbed me with the nickname Xena, Warrior Princess. I just don’t get it. I actually broke down and bought the whole darn series, watched it, and believe me there is utterly no similarity. I couldn’t slay a Cyclops, though I do admit — I swing a mean fly swatter!
The Diva rode around in a circle with Rosie who eventually used a little equine telepathy with me. As Horse Master Reyna instructed me on proper seating, and foot placement we began to realize the stirrups just might become an issue.
Driving Miss Rosie was a whole new experience let me tell you – nothing like a bike or car. If you are dyslexic — you are sunk man. Pull the rein out with your right arm, then your left, apply pressure with your leg to make her turn, kick to make her go and pull back to make her stop.
I had visions of failed water ballet and aerobic classes — I wondered if I ever told Reyna I can’t dance.
Rosie snickered with the angels. I swear they were in on this together.
While trying to maintain proper seating and pressure on the balls of my feet Rosie decided to take me for an unauthorized “ride”. We had a little talk along the way. “HEY!” I said, “THIS is lesson number one – cantering is NOT on the list for today. Reyna ain’t gonna like it – SHE’S the Horse Master you know.”
Rosie whinnied back, “She’s MY Horse Master – I’m YOUR Horse Master.” After a little more cantering I swear she sucked in her gut; my saddle slid sideways.
I seethed. “I’ve never fallen off a horse in forty-seven years – and your not gonna be the first.”
“So,” I asked Horse Master Reyna, “can I pull her over to that fence and hop off – the saddle’s sliding.” She looked at me oddly and asked, “Can you – I mean, just hop off?”
Rosie’s over 17 hands. I took that into consideration.
To hell with the rules. I get my massage Tuesday.
The one good thing about long legs is that they come in handy some times. I grabbed the fence and swung over into a semi-clumsy dismount – but landed standing. I heard the angels crumpling up their popcorn bags unhappily, but Rosie winked.
“Not bad. I was planning on dropping you off in that pile over yonder.”
I told her I already took that possibility into consideration.
Tipping my MonaVie hat, I said, “Till next time,” and decided to come back to the barn and sweat brush her off since she did lug this novice around the ring and surely endured some horse embarrassment for it.
Plus, I thought it might help patch up that respect thing. The apple treat I passed off to her later didn’t hurt our relations either.
Muck Boot Diva