Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pas de Deux

For years I've tried to get a quadrille group going (that's four people on four horses riding patterns). The first group collapsed after two practices. The second group, which I hosted here using two of my own horses, lasted several months but eventually also withered away. When I joined the Old People's Riding Club (yes, that's really the name) a few years ago, I had high hopes that this time I'd have a quadrille. No such luck. We had four people interested, but we all had different schedules and never could figure out practice times that fit everyone.

So I've lowered my sights. Now I'm willing to settle for two people on two horses riding patterns (a pas de deux). Since I'm one of those people, it seems that this is a workable solution, although there's still the difficulty of scheduling practices that work for both people. However, friend Nancy, my pas de deux partner, and I are now riding at friend Karen's barn (where I take jumping lessons) twice a month for "poles day". This is a day when we ride patterns over poles and then watch the videotapes of our rides. Non-horse people probably think horse people have a passion for patterns. (I couldn't resist that alliteration.) In fact, patterns help us teach our horses to bend properly, keep a steady cadence, ride corners properly, and more.

Today was our first pas de deux practice, after the poles session. Fun! Mr. Smith seemed to like trotting beside Nancy's tall, glamorous mare, Cat Lady, although his short legs had to work hard to keep up with her. Nancy and Cat are considerably more advanced than Mr. Smith and I but, because of that, they can adjust their strides more easily to fit ours and we had no trouble today at the walk and trot. Canter may be more of a challenge but that's in the future.

I'm already looking forward to our next session in two weeks. Half a quadrille is better than none. In fact, it's looking to be a whole lot of fun.

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