We are slightly late with our blog this week because we (as in, Your Blogger and her Trusty Steed) have been blowing minds locally with the concept that, at our advanced age and moderately advanced level of equestrian competence, we still take, you know, riding lessons. “But don’t you already know how to ride?”
Well, no. And yes.
Riding, like so many other things including writing, martial arts, and Life in General, is a skill that never stops growing–and that’s as it should be. One of the now retired masters from the Spanish Riding School of Vienna used to say that it takes two lifetimes to really learn how to ride a horse, and that’s a bit more than most of us are issued. That was one of the best riders in the world. For the likes of me, it’s more likely to be half a dozen lifetimes–and I’ll keep coming back to make new mistakes.
Horses, of course, know preeminently well how to be horses, but even the best of them need to learn how to carry a rider. Carrying a rider changes their balance in the same way that carrying a 50lb backpack would change yours, and if the backpack/rider is unbalanced, overloaded, and inclined to shift a lot, that presents a whole new set of challenges.
So my shiny white pony and I loaded up and hauled three hours north to ride with a young gentleman from that same renowned and, at over 450 years old, rather ancient school of the equestrian art. We got our butts kicked with great diplomacy and politeness, were reminded of a few things we had inconveniently forgotten, and were given homework enough and more to last us through the next year.
And that, naturally, will feed into my writing: both the skills we learned and relearned, and the experience of a master class itself, as well as the conversations we had about the methods and the innner workings of the School. There’s always more to learn and try and do, and always something we’ll slack off on, or lose track of, or need further help with. Which is why we have our regular trainer at home, too–she was there, watching and listening and asking questions and riding herself. She’ll make sure we keep on with what we learned, and move on with it, too.
Just like writing, isn’t it? The learning process never stops.