I have had some pretty cool celebrity encounters.
The most remarkable of these used to be getting to meet Carrie Underwood.
She was upstaged.
By a lesson, on North Forks Cardi!
Jessica had mentioned that possibility when we were last up there (in January) and then my friend, April, gave me a card for my birthday that was good for a lesson on Cardi. Talk about a dream come true! On our way up there April and Melissa asked if I was nervous. I told them no, but it felt so surreal, like we were going to arrive and Jessica was going to say just kidding.
Of course there was no "just kidding" and I did get to have a lesson on him. It was amazing! Cardi is so kind and was lovely to ride. There was definitely a big learning curve to understanding how to ride him but I improved as we went along. The power that he has and the ability to collect that power rather than just letting it go out the front was really amazing. I got to experience my first ever piaffe and passage! JW was wonderful and told me to not be worried about upsetting him or messing him up.
We did a lot of flying changes, some intentional and many that were not (although all of them were quite effortless). Cantering to the right he kept changing leads to the left. I'd change him back to the right and he'd change back to the left. I asked what I was doing wrong and JW said that I was not supporting him with my outside leg. We get so focused on the inside leg to outside rein that we forget that the outside leg has a function as well. Near the end I was cantering him to the right and JW told me to change him to the left lead and hold him there. I'd change him left and he'd change immediately right, right-left, right-left. We did this for a couple of laps but I was getting closer. Finally JW told me to hold his haunches to the wall with my left leg. Ta da, total light bulb moment and we counter cantered through the short side before I brought him back to trot. It's so impressive when you consider how spot on these riders have to be to successfully complete a Grand Prix test with out significant errors!
I'm working on uploading video and will share some of that with you when it's done. In the meantime, if you need me...I'm on cloud 9.
Bonus, at the end she laid him down...I may have fallen off when that happened. In my defense I wasn't expecting it and didn't get my left leg down in time as I thought she was just having him bow.
Major loves for this magnificent and generous animal. It was a true honor to have the opportunity to ride him and it's something I'll never forget.