Test? There's a test? What? But, but what do you mean there's a TEST?
Indeed. It seems that every Friday is testing day so the instructors can evaluate and grade us on what we covered during the week. Here's the thing. I liked school. I still like sitting at a desk with my notebook open and pen ready. I'm so eager in the Classroom sessions that I take notes on things I already know, because I'm just that nerdy. I'm good at written tests. Give me a test tomorrow on how many beats in a walk (4) and how fast a horse can travel at a trot (8 miles/hour) and some common faults of riders and I'm ready. Bring it on! Sadly, this isn't a written test but a riding test. Mara explained the horsemanship pattern which will include work at posting trot, sitting trot and 2 point so we can show what we learned this week. Yikes. I'm pretty sure Theresa never mentioned a test. There might be some more mental cursing happening tomorrow!
Throughout the12 week program there are intermittent tests on all aspects of horse care and barn management as well as for specific skills, like bandaging. And students are also graded on their mount and dismount and all of the riding skills they will learn as they move from the arena to the short track at the college and then the race track at Northlands Park. I knew about those tests, but it didn't sink in that I'd be riding a pattern. In an exercise saddle. Demonstrating my softness, balance and rhythm. Lord have mercy. But, it could be worse. Theresa could be testing me on my ability to bank clean a stall and groom/tack up by using a stop watch!
On a positive note, I didn't have to rely solely on gravity to get my legs out of bed this morning. And I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm. And Bender has gotten used to my (still) less than stellar mounts and he doesn't brace both front legs in anticipation of my flounder and flail! In fact, this morning he didn't even flick his ears back and forth in total annoyance as I found my stirrups (which are very long but still make me feel like my knees are under my ears) adjusted the girth and got my reins tied on. I feel like he’s a bit resigned to the lap of the arena it takes me to get settled! He steps out quite lively for the first few minutes of every session, and we both wish that I could just stand up on him gracefully and let him roll! I'm panicking at the thought of a horsemanship pattern at a trot, so we're a long way from me getting to pretend I'm George Woolf on Seabiscuit beating War Admiral!
There's so much more to tell, but I have to cut this short. I have to go practice my riding test in my living room. It's tough getting just the right prance for the posting trot! I'm pretty happy that I live in the country and don't have to worry about the neighbours watching!