Last weekend I did a bit of running! A post to follow on that no doubt but first I thought I would update you all briefly on the riding. Well, I didn’t ride at the weekend. I have made a decision to stop riding at one of the stables I was at – I didn’t take the decision lightly, some might say I thought about it too much. At the end of my last lesson there I was told off for briefly becoming frustrated and giving up, I pulled myself together and got back into the lesson with little to no help from the instructor but when I admitted that I had given up I was told that I shouldn’t give up, in life as well as a lesson and that I shouldn’t be a quitter. I felt really down after that lesson, I kind of beat myself up about it a bit – until my friends pointed out that I am meant to enjoy riding. That particular stables is not for me, it is too business-like (I know all are businesses but you know what I mean 🙂 ) and they do not seem interested in my experiences as a rider, people seem to come to pay their money and ride, there is little interaction with the horses or people and there is no hacking which I have come to realise I adore. So…I quit, just like a great, big quitter would and do you know what when it came to the time I would normally have been heading out to that stables last weekend instead I was pumping up the tyres on my mountain bike ready for a little push out round to South Queensferry with a smile on my face. I haven’t quit, I made a positive decision – took me a while to see that.
Don’t worry though I still have my two other stables and I am now thinking about trying a different one out too – why not? But in the meantime I had two great riding experiences last weekend that really helped cement my decision. On the hack in the morning Flame and I were out through the stubble fields, I panicked a bit as the only gear I usually have in stubble fields in ‘whooaaaaa!’ gear 🙂 With a few tips and focus I got the reluctant Flame to listen to me and we had a lovely hack, interrupted only by the hoardes of flies that descended upon us in the fields making us beat a hasty retreat to the beach. On the beach I did two canters with the owner of the stables, away from the ride and back then…my mate and I went for a canter ourselves – two in fact 🙂 I felt secure and even looked up at the view and across at my mate during these ones, previously I would only stare intently where I was going. High fives all round. Next up I did a canter in a field, bear with me here. I had mentioned to the owner that my nerves seemed to heighten when cantering outside in a group, so she put me to the test just a little by making me do these different canters. It was really reassuring to see I haven’t lost my ability to canter securely in forward seat or indeed to push on when I feel my horse backing off. A successful hack, made all the better by the lunch we had afterwards at a nearby cafe where horses and riders pitched up for a break – both myself and my mate are now keen to work out where we can do that!
A couple of hours later and I was sorting out my stirrups on Td for a lesson. Now I have mentioned before Td and his incredible belief that everything, and he means everything is better if you do it at canter! Well I haven’t experienced that a lot recently, it has been more about getting him going and getting myself convinced we can canter without something going wrong. A week past Sunday and we were flying around, and it didn’t phase me! He kept breaking into canter so I simply checked him and headed into the poles again then asked him to canter on the otherside. We had one hellish canter where he was slightly unbalanced and I should have pulled up but didn’t, that one was on me so he got an extra pat for trying damn hard there – next time I will pull up because I don’t believe that was fair on him. What was nice was that my classmates actually commented on how happy and confident I looked with him, our instructor noticed too – she actually laughed as she realised I had checked Td back to trot before she told me to and that I was relaxed about it. The only thing that made me sad about the whole lesson was that she mentioned giving me a different horse in lessons now that my confidence is improving – I get that but I will miss Td so much. Not that he will miss me, he is world’s most indifferent horse – it is quite funny to watch actually.
My nerves are part of my riding but they aren’t all that my riding is about, I will continue to push myself but those two experiences were lovely ones to have following a lesson where I was told I give up too easily. Sometimes it is good to trust yourself a bit more than others who say they know what is best for you.