So last Thursday I stepped out of my comfort zone (my comfort zone being Aladdin my arm chair of a cow pony) and went for a barrel racing lesson on an ex barrel pony. Ruby was only small but heck she was sassy and flashy!
The first time Sally shouted for me to let my contact go and let her run I squealed like a big girl. It took me nearly the whole lesson for it to soak in to my confused sponge about not having a contact on the rein. With Aladdin, I have a constant feel and conversation down the rein so getting told to just drop the reins was completely freaking me out. Sally could obviously see the confusion on my face every time she told me to drop the reins so she took us in the round pen where I had to completely drop my reins and go through the gears using just my core and voice, now this I loved and i seemed to find my seat a tad better in here too.
There was so much to take on board and learn and I no doubt exhausted Sally with my ten trillion questions. Where to hit the barrel (pockets) was something I can hopefully improve on in the next lesson now I know I can stop and slow us up with my barrel booty! And hopefully the concept of crossing the reins over Ruby’s neck will have sunk in more next time, I have to keep going through all the factors in my head as practising on Aladdin would just get us both in a big pickle considering we’ve only just mastered our English steering (sometimes.)
I honestly loved it so much and cannot wait to go back. I will be a lean mean barrel racing machine, I just need to learn to let go and forget about English steering and riding for thirty seconds (or twenty depending on the size of my balls!!)
Even after the lesson was fabulous, sitting in the garden admiring the sunset and Sally’s horses with an ice cold beer. Massive thank you to Sally for being the best tolerant teacher and wanting to help me achieve my dreams and to Ryan for being my top chauffeur.