1st Horseback Riding Lesson

I figured it was a good idea to give horseback riding a try before I committed to 14 days in the saddle.  I just happen to have a friend in Chiang Mai, Jackie, who rides and she arranged for me to take lessons at the Skill Center Chiang Mai.

Before I rode I watched Jackie ride.  Jackie is basically a pro.  Her horse is very tall and she made him jump things.  When it was my turn to ride I was very relieved to meet Lola.  She’s 1/2 Thai pony and 1/2 Arabian and much smaller than Jackie’s horse.  (unfortunately her personality is much bigger than Jackie’s horse.)  Lukas, the trainer, got Lola ready and says it’s time to go.  I notice there is no saddle and I’m a little distressed by this.  But because I don’t want to seem like the total noob I am I don’t ask why.  I just go along with it.  Lola does have a harness with handles.  I figure handles are good.

We get out to the riding area (I’ve since learned that it’s called a paddock) and Lukas expertly assists me in getting on the horse.  He gives me instruction on how not to look like a rag doll while riding.  (I’d only been on 60 seconds and was already showing my lack of skill.)  Now that I know to hug with my heels, to leave my knees relaxed, and to not lean forward like I’m on a bicycle I’m ready.  We spend the next 15 minutes doing yoga on horseback.  Lola trots, I hold up my inside arm.  I hold up my outside arm.  I don’t think it’s possible, but when I’m told to hold up both arms I do.  I twist my body so I can touch her tail with my left hand.  Then I do the same with my right hand.  Then Lukas asks the impossible.  While Lola is trotting he says, “Touch your left hand to your left foot.”  I think, I process.  I am skeptical, but I try and I get really close.  Then it’s time for right hand to right foot.  Less thinking and less skepticism and I am almost successful.  Then things get ridiculous.  Left hand to right foot?  I look at my right foot.  I look at my left hand.  I give it a go.  I almost get my hand to my knee.  The other side goes just as well.  We do a few more circles and then I give Lola a hug and hop down.  My legs don’t want to support my weight and they surely don’t want to walk.  They were exausted.

1st lesson done.  It felt like a success and I was convinced that I could manage hour after hour for 2 weeks.


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