Sunday, July 4, 2010


Riding is a three way street around here.There is the horse. We must listen to him/her as much as we want him/her to listen to us. There is the rider.The rider has CHOSEN to ride the horse. Years ago Jummy Wofford (excellent teacher and very experienced horseman) said, "it is better to make a decision and have it be the wrong one than to make no decision at all."In other words do something rather than nothing on the horses back. THINK......MAKE IT UP IF YOU HAVE TO!But try not to do NOTHING. The horse is looking for guidance too.

The third person is the teacher.The teacher can HOPEFULLY recognize and read the horse and the rider. The teacher is not there to judge or form personal opinions.The teacher is not there to say their personal likes and dislikes ,unless they pertain to safety or a mechanical application.

It is easy to see when a horse doesn't like something. It is easy to see when it is confused,unhappy,in pain ,lacking confidence,balance or knowledge.They make it clear that the "flow ain't there".

This teacher makes it clear when there is a no flow situation. Stop,wait, let's discuss this or that.No,not like that,like this. Ok, now that's good. DID YOU FEEL THAT? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT NOW? Good DO IT AGAIN.OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.we practice this walking in the field as well as jumping big fences. you do not have to be doing anything grand to ride well(safely) all the time.

The rider usually shows the teacher they understand with a big smile or sigh of relief. "he did it...I did it!' type reaction, often referred to as light bulb moments.

It is not always smooth and easy around here.We all fall off. We get too hot. We are all tired. We are all stressed about money. Most of us have some degree of pain that runs through our bodies 24-7. But we WANT TO RIDE. Riding is not easy. Nor is it the safest of games we choose to play. So we make many many sacrifices to do this.

If the horse is unhappy , we try endlessly to try and access, and decide how to make things better. He tells us, we must listen and then go to work to make life better. When the horse is happy ,everybody is happy.......

I wish riders would do the same. Sometimes they do. Communication is the key. I KNOW I lost YEARS AND YEARS of my riding career by not being open with my instructors. I went home after YEARS of lessons thinking I just wasn't good enough. I thought for years I would never get better. And I digressed. I got worse.I spent hours and years thinking my teachers didn't like me.


I lost my confidence many many times. Yet I wanted to ride. I wanted to get better. I didn't want to give up.Something drove me. I was ashamed to ask questions!

I have learned I have to be around teachers that are going to allow me to speak up and say I don't get it. I don't feel it. What did you mean by that? I have had teachers say to me at the 4 star level.......How can you ask me that and ride at Rolex? You should know that(referring to how to better ride a shoulder in)The teacher made me feel like a jerk and I withdrew. I went backwards not forwards. I wasted time in self pity and loathing. And I wasted my horses time, legs and life too.....

Teachers have different styles. Lord knows mine is quite graphic. I use very unorthodox language. I want people to SEE in their minds what I am talking about. There a few terms I wish to bring up here."Fairy Riding",the" Helpless Housewife,""crumpling" or the famous" fat lady position."What do you think of when I use the term"life Support?"or "C 4?"I do not mean the explosive.

I love bunnies ,butterflies, cuddly puppies, Easter dresses , flowers. When I think of those things I see visions of soft pinks and blues dancing around in my head. Vivaldi pops into the soundtrack. Perhaps even the occasional angel and maybe a fairy or two. I see fairies as lighter than air little people that do kind things and live in a happy, soft kind place. I have never thought of the nasty horrible connotation that refers to ones sexual preference. That goes to the dark place. Bad music and dark colors......... Black.......

I do not look at riding as a a sport practiced in the land of the bunnies. My job is safety first. The music changes from Vivaldi to Heavy Metal. When dealing with a horse or pony, one has to be ready for anything. Like going to war. When one trains for war,,,,it is hard work. To sharpen ones reaction time.....often the exercises are difficult and hard.One has to endure mental and physical discomfort occasionally to get though to the other side. Survival first.......Learn to clean and hold your gun. Shoot to kill.....You never get a second chance to make a first impression.....

The fat lady position does not mean I think you are fat. The fairy ride does not mean I think you are gay. The helpless housewife.........well I have seen a few and they are not safe on horses. I even call men helpless housewives.. They get it!

I called a GREAT friend of mine Mrs. Tomato Face once and that did not go over well. She was VERY VERY hot and her face was red and I was laughing. I said a girl had wimpy wrists once. I did not think she was a wimp! That took three years to get past that one........She never rode with me again because I was so insulting......Now we can laugh.....I tell one of my best students right now that she leaves the classroom and goes back to California (and she is a blond,housewife). Come back,come back from California.....You are about to JUMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Ok you get it. So if EVER EVER EVER I offend any of you. Come get me. COMMUNICATE. If you don't feel well.......COMMUNICATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I t is FAR BETTER to SAY WHAT YOU Think than leave hurt or upset.

PLEASE COMMUNICATE! We can do this...

PS I do not like Heavy Metal and far prefer Bunny Music..................................Kick on silly wabbit


Ann said...

Hey Lellie,

If it wasn't for your vivid descriptions and heavy metal/going to war mentality, I would NEVER be anywhere near where I am with clever Norman today... He's amazing, you're amazing and I'm really starting to feel it... What a thrill.. It's been such hard, hard work but more fun and rewarding than you can imagine... Visting CA less and less these days THANK GOD... see you soon!

Lellie said...

Dear Ann Dorothy was right. There is no place like home.