I had my first lesson on Max yesterday and my third lesson for Arne Koets. Maximilian is a 11 years old Andalusian, full of power and energy, strong, flexible, highly educated and definitely a horse I don’t want to “destroy” with my unbalanced seat, confused hands, stiff hips and lack of knowledge .. The past two years, I have basically being riding Batman straight forward, bareback and in walk, and sometimes straight forward in trot, and the past few months, a few canter strides here and there. That’s about it. So when I got here, my goal was to be able to walk in a circle without being too unfair to Arnes lovely horses.
We started our lesson with getting to feel the piaffe. If in doubt, do a piaffe, Arne said, and that would definitely come in handy later on.
Then it was the walk. I had no shoulder control what so ever, my seat did not work at all and I was absolutely terrified of doing anything wrong. So I sat on the horse, trying to do as little as possible, resulting in a confused horse trying to figure out what the hell I meant, and that did not feel very good. When you do everything you can (dare to) to get the horse to bend to the left and end up with trot to the right, something is wrong with your riding. So I did not achieve my goal for the day, to walk in a circle, could not get more than half a canter stride either, and did not really want to give Max an confusing experience, so I gave up and asked Arne if he could just take over and “save his horse”.
Sometimes you need to reach the bottom to get things sorted out in your head. Arne rode Max, did some canter work and lateral movements and I watched every single movement and use of the aids in each of them. Arne for sure had a more consistent seat, he was very specific with the direction and the exercises and was leading the horse, it was literally no doubt about where they were headed. I then understood that I could actually do a lot more than I earlier dare to, did not need to be afraid to try to use my seat, use my outside leg, and just turn around, so the horse would follow.
I got back in the saddle, and did my very best to ride Max with more confidence. Arne’s advice did for sure work, and it was great to get a response from Max when I actually sort of figured stuff out. And then the fun part finally began. I was clumsy as heck, did ten thousand mistakes, but we at least managed to do some riding and I’m very grateful for Max being so patient and taking such good care of me! They both guided me safely through my first ever canter lead change, piaffe, a terre a terre attempt, pirouette attempt, and the list goes on … Lots of “firsts”, haha! Definitely a rollercoaster-lesson, but it was fun to try something completely different from what I usually do, and I definitely learn a lot from trying and failing.
The pictures Lisa took turned out fine, tho! We look so much more elegant in photos than we did in real life, haha!
Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.