Winterlight and Dressage Lessons

“Winterlight” is the title of a fiction novel I’m currently reading — the most recent in the ‘Green Rider’ book series, and well worth a read for anyone who likes horses and fantasy (and books that are thick enough to double as doorstops). But as it turns out, I absolutely love the phrase “winter light” as a descriptor. It’s perfect for this time of year here. In the summer, everything is bleached out, and the light is harsh and glaring. But in the fall and as we move into winter? The light is softer, more colors can be seen, and we have some truly spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

The Superstitions in particular tend to look rather spectacular this time of year, and I end up taking so many photos to try to capture the interesting light. (Thank goodness for digital pictures and cloud storage.) I’ve spent the last couple of weekends playing out in the Superstitions, so I’m getting my fill of beautiful mountain scenery.

Two weekends ago saw Liberty and I taking our first actual formal riding lesson together. I was given the chance to take a lesson with Tessa Nicolet of Cohesive Horsemanship, and I am so glad I jumped on the opportunity. Tessa blends natural horsemanship principles with principles of Classical French dressage, building a relationship with your horse based on trust, confidence, and mutual respect. She has a teaching style that resonates well with me, and I was surprised at how much ground we covered in a one-hour session. I think this will be really helpful in cross-training, and building a more solid framework for Liberty in how to most effectively use her body. It’s also really valuable insight and know-to for me, teaching me the actual mechanics and how-to’s behind ideas and principles that I’ve grasped in theory but didn’t know how to go about putting into practice.

Sorry, for the “pics or it didn’t happen” crowd, I don’t happen to have any media of our lesson. Maybe not a bad thing while the Hot Mess Express is still coming together. I will definitely be signing up for future lessons to keep successfully building on this foundation. The “eyes on the ground” formal lessons are also super-helpful for me — not just for the immediate feedback and instruction element, but because I have gotten so out of the habit of doing arena stuff, and so bored/undisciplined about it when I do. (This is so ironic. I used to never want to leave the arena.) It also helps to have another set of eyes to work on my position, which has also greatly suffered from the lack of formal schooling in the last number of years.

I hadn’t realized how much I had actually missed taking some kind of formal lesson, and it makes me really excited for future lessons and unearthing a whole bunch of new things to keep learning.

Thanks for reading! Comments are always welcome!

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