I cantered today! OK, not me exactly, but the horse I was riding. I wasn't exactly in control of the horse - my instructor had the horse on a lunge rein, just so I wouldn't accidentally make the horse go berserk, and go galloping out of the arena with me screaming blue murder all the way to Inner Mongolia.
But back to the story, I cantered today! And why it's such a big deal is because
a) I didn't fall off and
b) I wasn't petrified!
I had fallen off before many years ago when learning how to canter (again, the horse, not me). The fall itself didn't hurt me, but because of the position of my legs when I fell, my right shin was at just the right spot for the horse's hind leg to give a good smack as he merrily continued cantering on, riderless. (Note: the horse had on horseshoes made of metal).
I suspect I actually sustained a crack on the antero-medial aspect of the tibia where the impact was; it hurt like #%@^, had a hematoma the size of a baseball over it, and a horrendous lookinig bruise that didn't go away for 2 months. Of course, I didn't get it xrayed. I thought: after all, if it's a crack, it was just going to be conservative treatment anyway, so why bother? (By the way, doctors do make the worse patients). So, R.I.C.E it was for me, and good ol' Ibuprofen.
Ever since then, I go into a slightly panicked mode whenever I get onto a horse & it starts cantering.
So today was an achievement for me. I know I didn't look exactly very graceful, I know I need to work on my posture while cantering, & I was also hanging on for dear life to the strap in front of the saddle (put there for people like me, I assume). And I know I have a long way to go to actually feel comfortable at a canter.
But I did it.
The first step - sometimes the hardest one of all.