Kara's decided to keep me on Chester for the foreseeable future, since -- even though he's a brat, as I've often said -- we do seem to have some kind of rapport. Chester didn't get ridden yesterday, though, and so he was a little feisty today again. We got through the grooming with less trouble than usual (though Chester did step on my foot once when I was cleaning his hooves), but someone who rode him before me had folded his bridle into what appeared to be an five-dimensional origami construct of some kind. It took fifteen minutes (and three people!) to figure out how to undo it. Worse still, whoever had done the origami bridle had put Chester's saddle, pads and blankets away wrong; the saddle had been wet from washing and had gotten the blanket damp because it was sitting on the blanket. Grmph. Got that all dealt with.
Good thing traffic hadn't been so bad and so I was there early...
Elizabeth was there as usual, and Bonnie was there too. Bonnie and Desi gave up partway through the lesson -- Bonnie was frustrated, and it wasn't working well for Desi -- and so it ended up being just Elizabeth and I for the latter half. My triumph for the day was that at some point I finally found my balance... two-point just /clicked/, and I was able to post properly after that. This was a cause for celebration! Since I could now post properly (after doing three laps around the ring posting to make sure I indeed could), Elizabeth and I got to take Derby and Chester through a marked-out course through the center of the ring (using the bars you put in an adjustable jump laid flat on the dirt to mark the course) to test our navigational skills.
This was where it got interesting. Chester, for whatever reason, decided that it would be a great idea to /canter/ through the course instead of trotting. I got to test my balance really quickly! After that was done with, Elizabeth -- on the very next round -- actually slipped out of the saddle when Derby dipped slightly. Derby got confused and cantered, as Elizabeth slid out of the saddle... to everyone's amazement (especially Elizabeth) she managed to regain her balance and pull herself back into the saddle and stop Derby. Whew!
Jennifer came out after the lesson to congratulate both of us on handling it well, and to jokingly remind Elizabeth that this was English riding, /not/ Western rodeo. But both Elizabeth and I felt like we really learned a lot and progressed a lot this lesson, and were pretty energized by the cantering experiences. Perhaps it was just adrenaline.
Got Chester back out and into his stall, cleaned the tack and put it back /properly/, not origami-style, and then gave him a carrot and an apple. Much slobber ensued. (Or, as Elizabeth put it, "Apple for Chester, drool for Rachel.")
May go in next week to volunteer in the stables at least once. Looking forward to next lesson!