Peter gave me my litmus test lesson today on his "kids" horse, Blondie. He said, "If you can't ride Blondie, you might was well give up now." I must have done okay because he indicated we could probably progress to a slightly more challenging horse next time, maybe even Lena. Calabar is also in the not-too-distant future, once I get my own squiggly body under control.
Not that I'll stay off Calabar's back between now and then, mind you, but Blondie helped me focus on more correct position and movement, and more subtle directions. Jessica and subtle do not often co-exist, but it appears we will have to find some kind of arrangement if I am to stay in the saddle.
Part of my own special challenge is retraining my body and my balance so I don't lead with my upper body. Back (way back) when I had delusions of tall-ness, I was a rower, and my upper body did a lot of moving. Hauling a very long, skinny oar through the water is not easy and while my legs contributed, the last push (technically a pull) was back and arms. This is not, however, a good method when it comes to riding (or skiing I've been told). Tossing one's upper body around to direct a horse really only serves to force them to balance for you. This tends to get in the way of what you're asking them to do, leading to all kinds of nonsense and miscues. Living life above your own center of gravity is also bad for any number of reasons--sailing off your horse's backside is one in particular that comes to mind.
Peter gave me good input: ride between my elbows; sit straight; ask gently first; keep your hands soft; don't move below the armpits, and really try not to move anything except my pelvis. Blondie, however, gave the best input. "I'm going to [veer off, stop, turn wide] now because whether or not you meant to do so, you just asked me to [veer off, stop, turn wide].
Alas, there are no pictures of my lesson today because Steve was off riding his lovely spotty horse instead of documenting this next part of my journey. Since Lena needed the work, I suppose that's allowed.
So I leave you with a picture of this Thoroughbred I know and love, with dreams of riding him with my seat and not trying to (using Peter's analogy) drive a bus.
Bar says that sounds like a good plan.