Last weekend I went for two hacks at Seacliff. I rode Flame on both hacks and had to deal with an attack of nerves both rides as well *sigh* Still I did do an unassisted canter each time, just me and one of the leaders and I tried to do a third one but didn’t ask Flame strongly enough and just had a speedy trot. Another step forward although I let me nerves take over during a trot on the Sunday, this frustrated me so much that I did get a bit teary.
My positives from Saturday:
- I got a really nice trot going on Flame, he moved off my leg nicely
- making a positive choice to canter
- getting a nice strong walk
Saturday was also the first visit to the stables for one of my longest standing riding buddies and she had an ace time. That is really nice when someone enjoys a hack at your stables, when they enjoy the horse they are given and have a good, old blast of canter on a beach. Watching them tear up the beach towards me in canter looked like so much fun – soon I will be part of that group, not watching 🙂
Sunday one of my riding buddies who I currently ride and myself headed back out to Seacliff and this time we were out with the owner and two helpers, one of whom was on a young horse who is learning the ropes. While on the way to the stables I was keen to improve on the one wee canter I had done the day before. Unfortunately my brain doesn’t currently work like that and even during the trot I felt my anxiety rise but it was spotted and I got taught a few more things to add to my mental checklist:
- my nerves clamp around the reins when my nerves start – so I was advised to wiggle my fingers when I get nervous, calms me and horse down
- I need to make sure my reins always allow me to have contact with Flame’s mouth.
- Hooking a finger into the neck strap will allow me to focus on my enjoyment rather than my nerves, use the neck strap as a wee confidence boost.
Sunday’s hack was really good for me, the owner there really tries to understand my nerves and explained to me she had experienced them herself on and off over the years. I like hearing that, it makes me feel that my decision to stick with trying to overcome my nerves is the right one rather than give up something that bring me so much joy.
Unfortunately on Sunday’s hack my riding buddy did have an out of control moment on the beach where her horse was galloping rather than cantering, I am hoping she will write a wee bit on the blog about her experience as she dealt with it incredibly well.
Finally as a culmination of a horse-y weekend we visited my old instructor’s new livery yard. It was lovely, a proper old-fashioned looking stables which she has been kitting out beautifully and has great plans for it. She seems so happy and the place is perfect for her – it is lovely to see her enjoying her work so much and she invited me down to go out for a ride with her. I am definitely putting a date in the diary for that one.
No riding next weekend. Instead I am back at Cumbrian Heavy Horses on Monday for a hack up the fells.