(My stylish riding outfit. Yes, I am wearing my hat in the basement.
If you think I did not try on my outfit three times before my lesson, you are mistaken.)
But, because I'm me, giving me the absolutely perfect birthday gift was not exactly easy on her. So let's go back to the beginning, where I gracefully accepted this gift...
Kathy: Do you want to come to the stable with me to schedule your riding lesson?
Kathy: Why not?
Me: Because I can't accept this. I don't want to take riding lessons. Well, actually, I do want to take riding lessons, but I can't.
Kathy: You can't reject it. It's a gift. Come on.
Me: No. We're all short on money, and it just doesn't seem like the time for me to take up an expensive hobby. So I can't.
Kathy: But I saved up, and I already got you the gift certificate. Come on!!
Me: But I don't want to start it up and then just quit. No.
and on, and on. SO BRATTY. Really, not my finest hour. Until finally, after crying on the bed for a ridiculous amount of time, we decided that if Kathy cancelled her gym membership (which she doesn't really use all that much) and I gave up something else, and I only went every other week, we actually would come out even and I would be able to continue the lessons after my gift certificate was used up. So HOORAY, I got to have horseback riding lessons.
I have been nervous about the lesson all weekend. I mean, it has been a really, really long time since I have been on a horse for anything other than a trail ride. I got to the stable today, and found out I was assigned to ride a horse named Einstein. What a good sign! He was big, and brown, and nice-looking. I was only a little afraid of him.
Before my lesson started, my teacher, Katie, asked me whether I had ridden before. I told her yes, but not in 1 1/2 decades. I told her that before I quit riding, I had been cantering and jumping low Xes (something like this). She asked me what I remembered and I said, "Uh, I am pretty sure nothing, but let's see." I had my half hour lesson, and I walked and trotted around in circles, as you do. About halfway through, Katie started going on about muscle memory and how we should walk/trot this time, and next time pick up cantering. Kind of like she thought I was expecting to just gallop around the ring and jump over shit my first time on the horse in 17 years. I'm not sure who she is used to dealing with, but I was like, "Uh, girl, I am using muscles I didn't even know existed. I am sweating through the back of my shirt and I am pretty sure I have bruises on my butt. I am TOTALLY FINE not taking it up a notch right now." Except, you know, in my head. Out loud, I said, "Okay, that sounds like a good plan," and carried on trotting around in circles, happy as a clam.
And so went my first riding lesson. I freaking love it. Did I mention that, when I was a teenager, I regularly used to have horseback riding dreams? Because I did. So, thanks, Kathy. Best present ever.