So….I passed my Riding & Road Safety exam!!! Cue a round of applause please 🙂
It was a great experience all round and I have to say I would recommend it to anyone who will have to hack on roads either by themselves or in a group at a riding school. I have learnt a lot over the past few months and feel a lot more confident on the road with it all.
This exam is in three parts – a multiple choice theory paper, a simulated road route set up in a field and a route on the roads outside the stables. You have to pass each part to progress to the next one, the theory paper I was pretty happy with.
I had a couple of minor moments during the simulated route, the first was when MJ decided that the “scary” obstacle was actually fascinating and he should really take a closer look. Now MJ is not a spooky horse, as his owner tells me he walks past wood cutting machinery, combine harvesters and all manner of farm equipment and barely bats an eyelid but what he is, is a curious horse. All he wanted to do was to take a look, but of course in the Riding and Road Safety exam what you are doing is showing the correct way to ride past a scary obstacle (in case you are interested: turn their head away while keeping your right leg on to ensure their hind quarters do not swing out) so I had to slightly fight him to get him to look away from it. This then meant my line was compromised when I got to the flared junction but we still rode that pretty well. I thought I had messed up my remounting (you have to demonstrate dismounting and remounting as though in an emergency) as I thought I had stopped him too far from the block but I just managed – that will be the yoga working its magic! To be fair the simulated route was over in a flash giving me far too long to wonder just whether or not I would have passed.
On the road route we were fine bar one minor moment where MJ was put out that we had to halt to let Mr K and another candidate pass as they had right of way for passing some parked cars and we had been warned to treat the other horses as hazards. This is fair enough, if you met an unknown horse you would do just that but MJ was not in agreement, I think his view was ‘I am nearly home and it’s only Mr K’cue fidgeting and me having to give a good squeeze with the right leg to stop him from putting his arse into traffic.
We all passed, which was great. We then got a group photo taken, then to celebrate I bought a fluorescent hat band – I know how to celebrate 🙂
Unfortunately my lesson was not that great. My body hurt all over and I wasn’t really pushing Am on. We did a lovely canter transition and some nice leg yields but I was just too hot and uncomfortable. One of those slightly rubbish lessons (never that terrible if I get to ride) but I did manage to get a better understanding of light seat – mine is okay and secure but could definitely be improved.
Oh and an update on my physiotherapy. I had been doing my exercises and headed to yoga on Friday – I was feeling virtuous and definitely felt things were improving. So…I fell down some stairs on Friday night and sprained my left ankle! I was entirely sober (had a drink afterwards) but the lighting in the bar area meant I didn’t even see the final step. Oh well – it is healing okay after a day of rest and a 24 mile cycle plus the riding yesterday doesn’t seem to have damaged it. Fingers crossed eh? Inelegant doesn’t even cover it when it comes to me at times 🙂