I must admit. I have eaten some humble pie. I am not an English rider. I did not ride well the posting of diagonals or could balance very well in the two point position. I had a hard time changing discplines. After working with gaited horses in Kentucky for the past 10 years and keeping the reins on contact; then going to this clinic and riding Western on a very loose rein and relying on leg and weight pressures first to slow horses down was frustrating to say the least.
They (the clinicians and upper level participants) were forever talking about transitions - the exact words for the movements to speed up and slow down a horse - it was something that I was not used to. When teaching a class we had to be quick in our teaching and correcting poor riding posture, safety minded all the time, and loud enough to be heard by everyone in the arena. I must say I've certainly learned a lot. I did not leave with the certification level that I was hoping for, but I am certified again. That's good. Things should be safer around the stable/arena/trail this summer during camp horse activities.
One of the things I learned that week about safety of equipment. If you can physically rip something on the saddle/bridle, do it. It's better to have a piece of equipment not usable and needing to be repaired, than to have equipment breaking with a rider mounted on the horse. I've learned to be more observant. (Today while working with a saddle I found a worn stirrup leather and ripped it off. ...Repair work to do.)
I will continue reading and studying about horses and I will start to make the English saddle my friend (We do have one in the tack room) to further develop my own riding abilities. There is always something to learn with horses, and if I can use them to help people enjoy horses more, be more safety conscious, and point them to God. What I have gone through the last week will be worth while.
Some verses I came across in recent Bible readings:
"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go. I will guide thee with my eye. Be not as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee." Psalms 32:8-9