He was a little tripped out at first. Like, hey lady, where's your other leg?! But he rose to the occasion like a champ.
So, the experience went like this:
I warmed him up western and left his headstall with leverage bit and nice long reins. I have all the proper* stuff heading my way in the mail, but until then...
So, I mounted at the block. Wow, not easy. The leaping head was weird to get my leg around. Dismounting was equally interesting. I think it might take some time to be able to do that gracefully.
I ride both western and english and this saddle felt totally weird! I kind of sat there for a minute, thinking, oh god, the saddle is going to slide over. I found myself leaning far to the offside, or to the right, trying to compensate. I honestly didn't even walk forward for about ten minutes.
But waiting was good. While sitting there, not worrying about him moving, I kind of relaxed into the seat. The goal is to be square and balanced on the saddle, so from behind, you look just the same as when riding astride (but missing a leg lol). You don't want to lean to the right, like I was.
So, once I got settled into the seat a little, I asked him to walk. It took him a moment to walk forward and not just sideways. I used a stick on his offside to simulate my right leg's cues. He was a little confused at first, but he's a pretty smart little guy, and soon enough, we were walking around in nice little circles! Yay! We even went up and down a hill :)
I just walked today, but it was pretty neat. My trainer hopped on and got right to cantering! This is new for both of us, but she is super game for everything and I got a ton of manuals and books (new and period) and we will figure this out! I'm super excited.
* Now, for that asterisk I threw up there next to "proper." English showing, in general, has a million rules on what you and your horse wear. If english has a million, riding aside has a billion! It's amazing. They even have rules as to what kind of sandwich you keep in your canteen! Traditionally, cucumber, or plain turkey, edges cut off, cut in four and wrapped in clean linen, in case you were wondering! And sherry or tea in your flask is a must.
And, if you must carry and sandwich and flask, well, you need the proper thing to put it in. A canteen! Mine was waiting for me when I got home this afternoon. I unpacked it and it is lovely. I love the accessories!! It's like the best part of anything.
The canteen has a more necessary, modern purpose, too. The spot for the sandwich case fits my phone perfectly. Just in case you're out on the trail and something happens...
So all in all, it was a fun, happy day. Yay!