A Quarter – full Lesson

It has been (just) over a week since I last posted and part of that is down to the fact that last week I just felt like I had nothing to post about. I tried running for four miles a week past Sunday and it felt slow and laboured – my drama queen tendencies shone through as I felt in pain throughout my run, convinced I would have to call Mr Inelegant Horse Rider to pick me up or flag down a bemused motorist. The physio I saw during April ย has given me exercises to build up my non-existent arse muscles to help my stability and strength but I haven’t done them. What I do do is I whinge and moan about pain when I run – hmmm something here isn’t right. A week past Monday I went for a walk/run with a mate who I am helping run a 5k and my ankle hurt, so I got frustrated at myself and my body sound familiar – oh yeah I have been writing about horse riding making me feel the same. Horse riding and running two of my hobbies frustrating the hell out of me at the minute, so what to do?

Well first up I am trying to be more routine with my yoga, secondly I am going to start on those physio exercises (doing heel raises as I type, honestly ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and focus on enjoying other things too. I signed up for The Tour o the Borders (the short one I amn’t totally off my nut yet) and as I am on holiday this week I went for a private lesson at a different stables (I know, I know I am being unfaithful ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). After realising that some of my confidence was tied up with my old instructor I have been thinking that I need to change that and not just move onto putting that onto another instructor. The plan is still positivity and accepting that the frustrations in running or riding simply arise due to the fact I care about these things, the plan also involves riding elsewhere too. The idea of a week one place/a week another place with some private lessons thrown in and visiting different places to hack seems to help me. Of course I could be wrong here and it would be better to put my head down and power through but frankly I want the fun back and today was fun.

I rode a wee dude called Max today, a grey American Quarter horse. It is quite a different set-up at the place I visited today. It only has an indoor school and no hacking, unlike my regular place that has hacking and only an outdoor school. The horses are brought up to the school for you and collected again after. This may well change after you have been there a while but I did miss the general interaction I have with horses prior to my lessons at my regular stables. The lass who brought Max in was lovely and told me a little about quarter horses – I never realised that they were the breed that does barrel racing and are incredible quick over a “quarter mile” – who would have thunk it! Max spent his time snuffling me contentedly, apparently frisky me for treats. Then up I got and off we went.

Now I think this lesson was equally about relaxing me as it was about riding. I didn’t do as much work as I do in my normal lesson but that’s to be expected. I thoroughly enjoyed it all. We did a bit of work in the walk, Max trying to sleep then simply following the instructor but once we were out on the track he seemed to perk up. In the trot he was brilliant, really responsive to the changes in my rises and it felt like he sprung forward. I really enjoyed his eagerness for trot, it felt as though he was responding to my aids pretty nicely and he gave me confidence. We did a few circles, figures of eight and talked a little about my tendency to ride with my leg position too far forward. Then all too soon the question came as to whether or not I wanted to canter – I actually wanted to say “Hell yes!” but resisted tempting fate and went with a simple “yes”. I didn’t get the aids right with the wee dude so the instructor asked for me (that was annoying I can do canter aids grrr apparently I threw my reins away when asking which did not help). The canter was great but I gripped with my knees and held myself a bit rigid so I bounced a fair bit, got to remember my breathing technique!

I really enjoyed the lesson and I am now trying to get a space in a class there. It was interesting to chat to the instructor too as she told me that confidence being tied up in an instructor is actually incredibly common and not to worry. She also told me that some of the clients that ride there also ride at different places week about for a variety of reasons (e.g. hacking) and that they were perfectly happy with that! I left feeling happy. Roll on Sunday when I am riding twice! Once at a new trekking place in the morning and then for my normal lesson in the afternoon, I am looking forward to both.

I reckon the sunshine helped today, Scotland looks beautiful in the sunshine. I cycled part of the way out to the stables today and the whole way back enjoying the sunshine and views. Not a bad way to spend a day off ๐Ÿ™‚

Now I am off to make tea…oh wait no I mean now off to do those physio exercises.

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