I couldn't ride yesterday. It is warming up but is still pretty cold and the snow is covered with a layer of ice. My dog doesn't break it. I am sure Louis would, but that would add crazy dimensions to my riding. It is hard enough to stay balanced without worrying about my horse losing his footing. I am sure Louie would not like it either. Maybe next week.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I got one lesson to get used to riding again; today Dada the dressage taskmaster was back (just kidding, Dada!). Actually, I was glad to get into it again. I like riding, but it is even more fun to try to guide the horse through the dressage moves.
We ride two tests that I will have to ride in the competition at Morven Park. I also have to ride a third test, a freestyle one, where there are certain compulsory moves.
The first test was the team test. It wasn't too hard, although I got confused by one of the serpentine moves. In serpentines, you make an "S" kind of shape with an extra curve, so three curves. The test called for a narrow one around the center line, but I did one between the side and the center line. I know what you are thinking, "Buy a clue, Matt."
The individual test was next. That was harder, especially the figure of eight with 8-meter circles. I do know what circles look like, but it is awful hard to ride them, especially 8-meter ones because you really need to feel your way. There are no letters at 8-meter intervals. One of the hardest things is that to make the circle look good the horse needs to curve his body. You do that by pushing with your leg, but my legs are a weak point in this killer body. My right leg is especially bad, which is odd cause I am right-handed, but I sit too much on the left I am told, and when I shift to the right, Dada likes it but I feel very unsteady. This is fixable,, I know. I am not discouraged or anything. We got some improvement by making the right stirrup lower than the left.
This was my sister Emily's favorite picture. She yelled out to our mom when she saw it: "There's a picture of Matt on the horse and four women looking up at him." Of course, they are my teacher and helpers. I will know when I have truly arrived on the dressage scene by one thing: dressage groupies. Maybe they will throw their jodhpurs at me. Maybe not.
It was a fun day, still cold. Our friend Lynne, who was one of my first side-walkers, came by to see me ride. That was great.
Now I am off to study the tests to memorize them and ride them in my mind. It will be like "The Music Man." If you think dressage, you will ride dressage.
Posted by Matt Trott at 10:02 PM
Monday, February 05, 2007
Saturday, February 03, 2007
We did it! Spirit Field is real! And I rode!
Today was the day I have been waiting for. Judging by the crowd that watched my first lesson and the opening of Spirit Field, others have been looking forward to it as well.
We were at least 20 people joined together by a love of horses, riding and one amazing woman. I'd like to think they were all there to see my dramatic return to the ring but I know better: They were there to support Dada and marvel at what she has put together in just a few months.
I was worried early in the day that I might spoil it by committing an egregious equestrian fashion faux pas: I could not find my black practice riding pants and thought I'd have to wear my dress whites that are for competition only. In regular fashion it would be like wearing white shoes after Labor Day. I found the black pants but wish now I had worn the white ones and my tux because it was such an occasion.
There was food, drink, a cake that said "Spirit rules." The only thing missing was the warm weather. It was a little chilly. I didn't notice because I had on my helmet over a hood, and a monster protective vest over my body and half-chaps over my legs.
Then I got on Louie. I am comfortable enough in my sexuality to say that.
He was so great. He was easy to ride and easily motivated to walk. A little too easy, actually. I tried encouraging him by clicking my tongue a few times and he about started to trot.
He responds really well to the reins, too, so I have to go easy on him, and he does not mind walking close to the wall at all.
In short, he was a dream. Again, comfortable enough to say that about a guy.
Dada said at one point, "There is that smile." I don't think that smile disappeared the entire time I was riding. It was definitely there when we were trotting. I totally can't see a thing because my head bounces around so much but it is so fun.
And that wasn't all. After I rode, Caroline, who hadn't been on a horse in four years, gave Louie a workout.
It was a great day. Thank you to everyone who came out and those who couldn't make it but had us in their hearts and minds.
I'm riding again!
Posted by Matt Trott at 4:41 PM