"Why would you take extra riding classes if you know how to ride?" asked a friend. If you can just go for desert expeditions, commonly called hacks, in British equestrian tradition.
I mostly enjoy desert hacks. They are non restrictive. I delight in the canter and the promenade in the desert on horseback does wonders!
However people cringe at the thought of taking a horse in the paddock and riding in circles interminably. Don't they realize that I learn so much when the instructor stands observing, correcting and assisting? Don't they realize that it is those exercises in the paddock that exert my muscles the most because I am concentrating and in tune with my body? When I am in the desert, on the other hand, I get very few instructions from the accompanying teacher and I don't concentrate on my body, its performance. I just relax and ride!
I rode for a few years in Dubai as a teenager, and I also attended a riding camp in Vermont for three summers. I never became a horsewoman. However, I learned the basics of horsemanship which sums up to confidence. This is why my children ride from the youngest age, fearless, with the desire to stride foreword, with the supreme feeling of bonding with such a large and beautiful creature.
It took me some twenty years to get back in the saddle and now, as an adult, more than ever, my desire to improve on technique, to exercise with precision.