Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fat Man In A Tight Suit

I had my first riding lesson with a different instructor this week.  They had a "clinic" at the barn, which isn't what I thought a clinic would be.

To me, a clinic means that someone is coming to instruct a group of people and those people will be there learning, together, all day or during said time.

A riding clinic is just some outside instructor coming in to give lessons every hour and you sign up and pay to ride at X time, either in a group or by yourself.  But there is no sort of comradery about it. 

We had heard the guy was coming and no one seemed to know  him.  I went and watched a clinic at another barn one time and there was this very professional looking man to give the lessons.  He had his riding gear on and actually got on people's horses and said "see, I want him to do this" and the horse did.  He was small, like I would think a jockey might be.   And when he wasn't on someone's horse, he was standing in the middle, watching and coaching.

I watched another clinic at another barn where a woman gave the lessons.  She too was in riding gear though she did not get on the horses.  She stood in the middle and gave instructions.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this, my first actual clinic.  I liked the price and was glad r-ster said I could do it at no extra expense(usually, you also pay to use the horse unless you have one of your own).

So, I arrived early and there was sort of hush in the barn, which was weird.  I couldn't read r-ster's body language at all.

Much to my surprise, there was a man in the middle of the ring, SITTING on the mounting block (the thing you step onto to get on the horse, it usually has 2-3 steps) and he was slurring, as though drunk.

He was not in riding gear.

He was not fit.

He wasn't inspiring, from my angle.

So, I groomed Tucker and listened to what he had to say to the woman that was riding before me.  I was surprised that some of what he said was kind of harsh.  Oh, I thought, so he's one of those.  An instructor who tells it like it is.  I can deal with that, I do the same thing.  This should be interesting.

So, it was my turn and I went outside so I could enter the ring.  As I entered, he said he'd be right back, so I figured he had to go to the bathroom.

When he returned, he was very busy eating a brownie.  Stuffing the brownie, actually, while he was trying to talk to me.  So that was strange. 

And then he SAT back down on the mounting block and told me what to do.

And for the most part, we did what he said to do.

He kept laughing and telling me that we are "fun to watch".  I'm not sure what the really means.  He said I was "sweet to teach" and that it was a good lesson.

Considering how weird horse people are and how everyone thinks they are THE EXPERT when it comes to their horses, I suppose I am nice and easy to teach because I don't think I know much.  And I don't own the horse, so I don't feel like he's my child that I need to defend.

I bet it's really hard to teach people who have been riding for a long time and have learned all kinds of bad tricks.  And who have a chip on their shoulder to begin with.

I definitely believe he rode at some point and knows what he is talking about.  I think it's strange that he is too heavy to ride a horse and let the horse feel good about the weight on  his back.   I wonder if he had an accident or injury that keeps him from riding and then he got fat and this is his only income.

I don't know if I would or would not take another lesson with him.  He certainly didn't damage me.  He spoke the same language as r-ster. 

But it's like the 400 pound woman that I took tap dancing from years ago.  Or the fairly overweight instructors who teach at my gym.  REALLY?  Isn't part of why I do these activities to remain fit?  Shouldn't you look the part?

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