A private lesson and a sad holiday ride

Last Friday before I went off on holiday I decided to book a private lesson,  because the day before you go on holiday why not do more things than you should?  Due to the amazingly bizarre timings of the buses during the week I was at the stables nearly an hour early.  I was told I had P and that I should groom him ready for tacking up.
To begin with he really enjoyed it but towards the end was getting fussy and had to be tied up to get his feet picked out. The moment we got outside I remembered I hadn’t done his tail as I had been trying to remove as much of his excess hair as possible. Woops.  He still looked good in my book.
I enjoy private lessons on P, I always feel I get more out of him. The focus was on getting him active and powerful, and me feeling the change.

While warming P up I was told to get him moving immediately. If he didn’t respond to the leg, use the whip. My instructor also taught me to sometimes simply swoosh the stick through the air – you use a long stick when riding P.

We were working on getting a powerful trot with P using his back-end engine and for me to focus on how it feels. I was doing trot – halt transitions to test the quality of the trot with my instructor occasionally shouting ‘could you canter from it?’ If I answered yes – ‘That’s working trot then!’

Next up, power in the canter. We just did a few canters on each rein with my instructor focusing on my getting my right heel down and pushing my butt back in the saddle. P is a good horse for reacting positively when you do something correctly so I suddenly was flying along but felt in control.

We had one moment where he thought about spooking but I spotted him looking around him so got his attention back quickly. I need to remember to ensure P knows I am in control and he needs to listen to me!

Then with ten minutes to go my instructor suddenly said ‘right let’s head to the field’. In order to get me used to riding without my instructor there for the riding and road safety course and the dressage tests she decided to let me into the field to practice some moves. It was great but strange! I am really excited for the summer riding now! Also I really need to lengthen my hamstrings, yoga it is then.

When I returned P to his stable I rugged him up and turned him out and was rewarded with a nuzzle. He can be very sweet sometimes.

So I have been on holiday for the last week in Egypt visiting a friend which has been lovely. Last time I was here I had a lovely horse ride into the mountains, galloping about and I felt very confident with the instructor and the horses. This time with a different stables I was just left sad and deflated, my friend enjoyed her ride which made me feel a little bad for disliking it so much. The horses were very thin and the tack missing parts, when I tried to let down the girth at the end I couldn’t – it was so tight. Basically I felt uncomfortable the entire time. I know that it is unlikely that a ride in Egypt will be at the safety level I am used to but I wish I had said something and never even ridden. The first horse they gave me felt wild and out of control and when I asked to swap for the laidback one the man accompanying us had they kept saying she was lazy. Eventually I just demanded to be swapped as I didn’t feel ok at all, we didn’t have helmets and while obviously it doesn’t stop a fall it helps with protection, They then didn’t seem convinced i could ride and kept trying to’ help’ and I was told to kick constantly even by random men on the street when my horse was walking well. Then I kept getting asked if I wanted to go fast, the guy seemed confused when i said no then asked if i wanted a picture but i said no to that too, beautiful as she was i just felt sorry for my horse. Ok different customs and safety standards but then the next day I saw the same horses out in the sun with no shade nor could I see any water. I have learnt my lesson no riding in some places unless I can be guaranteed a healthy, happy horse and if I am unhappy ask for a helmet or just don’t ride. I just wish I could fly that horse to Scotland.

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