This weekend I have a quick, shockingly more positive than of late horse-y update! I went for a hack with one of my riding buddies on Saturday at a different stables. And do you know what I had fun! That’s not to say my nerves have receded that much, I did have a couple of nervy moments but my overall feeling was one of ‘I enjoyed that’ and given how rubbish I have been feeling after riding recently I am taking that and running with it 🙂
I chose not to canter, opting instead to go for some trots with one of the instructors. My pony was a really fast walker, she was a driving pony first and has an extended gait so I was lead file and powering away! I haven’t been lead file for ages and it made me nervous initially until I realised that she just wanted to have some space and stride out, she halted when I asked and slowed if I needed her to. We led a trot along one of the paths with me choosing when to stop, a small thing perhaps but it felt good. At one point we were down on the beach and since this is something the horses do all the time it didn’t have the frenzied feel you sometimes get when a horse puts it foot on the sand, that was nice. I did freeze when my horse suddenly trotted off after another horse but the instructor was very nice and just told me remember to breathe and to wriggle my hands and wrist to help relax me, and do you know what – once I did that my pony responded perfectly. Just goes to show that when my nerves take over I tense up and don’t actually give the horse any form of instruction!
The instructors were both very nice, the one who was with me for the trotting chatted away about nerves in a non-judgemental manner and spotted when I tensed up telling me to breathe and relax, that I was fine and every so often reminding me that I can ride. It was a nice touch after last week.
My pony was very sweet natured, she looked after me very well (she is a grandmother!!) and stood contentedly afterwards as I groomed her and made a bit of a fuss over her. So an enjoyable if nervy experience, and I am heading back next week. I liked the fact that I didn’t feel under so much pressure (all put on me by myself but it has still limited my enjoyment), one of the instructors actually did mention that by having lessons , putting myself under pressure and then getting frustrated when things weren’t going right she wasn’t surprised I had started to feel down about my riding. The countryside we rode through was beautiful and there were great views, the horses were well cared for and seemed happy to respond to what the rider asked for. The people who did canter seemed to have a great time, a wee piebald cob was having the time of his life on the beach! Even the trot on the beach blew away the cobwebs and was a great way to start the weekend 🙂
I decided not to hack today at my regular stables, partly a financial decision but also the nerves played a part. I am still 100% committed to riding there I just feel like I need to do something to take the pressure away from me. Some lovely people commented on my last post about doing groundwork and that;s something I definitely want to investigate, I really enjoyed grooming and just chilling out with the ponies after the ride on Saturday. 3 weeks and I will be down in the Lakes at Cumbrian Heavy Horses!!! I am getting excited already, need a video camera for the beach ride – reeeaaalllllyyy want a gopro, you can even mount them to your chest. That would make for a brilliant video!