When my phone rang on this dim, rainy morning, I knew it was my teenage student calling to confirm that her lesson was, indeed, canceled due to weather. She’s a busy high-school student in an academically challenging school, so I figured she’d be glad of the extra time to complete weekend homework.
Instead, she asked could we please meet at our usual time and do some alternative activity. Her suggestion: an anatomy lesson of some kind.
She was too busy to ride the last two Saturdays, is going away for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and she said she was missing the horse we work with, a quirky Paint mare who belongs to one of her distant family members. The mare only works on our lesson days, living a life of privileged leisure the rest of the week.
Grace is not the easiest horse foe a novice rider to learn on. She requires quite a bit of motivation to take part. We joke that her favorite word is “whoa.” Though she’s sound and safe, she’s often cranky, always looking for a way to get a ruder to let out of work. She has driven other riders and trainers to despairingly give up on her. But I like Grace and get along with her and my young student “gets” her, laughing at some of the bitchy behavior and correcting what needs correcting, all the while appreciating the four-legged “princess” for who she is.
So, of course, I bundled up and dodged intrepid (crazy!?) El Tour riders so my student could spend time with the horse she who has been her challenging teacher for a couple of years. We did acupressure for the immune system, which required identifying and locating various bony landmarks to locate specific points. (Our reference was Tallgrass’ classic “Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual.”)
It was a good hands-on anatomy practice for us and Grace got so relaxed her knees actually buckled at one point. All in all, a good way to spend part of a wet winter morning. (Better than riding a bike 100+ miles in cold rain!)