Urgh head colds are horrible aren’t they? I have had one since Friday but I still managed to drag myself out my bed and to the train for my (nearly) weekly trip to Seacliff. For the first time I cycled to the stables from the station, it didn’t take too long but felt tough – that should have probably been a hint that I wasn’t well.
On Friday evening I had another lesson with Houston and while it was enjoyable I did get incredibly nervous at one point and we had to stop with the faster work we were doing. The instructor did suggest that the snorting of the horse and the fact she had tripped seemed to make me tense, that’s interesting and something I need to work with. We did manage one canter and the fact that their horses are much faster in the canter is proving good for me.
So to Saturday’s ride, well I had Anna again and she did test me. Do you remember I have said that one of the things that makes me really nervous is the idea of me being out of control in an open space? Weeelllll guess what happened? We were done on the beach messing around, I had done a couple of canters just me and Olivia, one of the leaders, and Olivia was essentially telling me off for not steering on one of the canters – she did it in such a nice way but she did remind me that I have to be bossier. If I need Anna to stop or to go in a particular direction she needs to listen.
Then we had a wee group canter – Anna and I were out front, which was fun and off into the sea for a paddle. Anna seemed really reluctant and the waves were pretty big. We heard them on the route down crashing onto the beach. But I want to stress Anna is not scared of water so I pushed her on to follow the rest of the group. Olivia shouted to have a trot and then BOOM I was off, Anna bolted with me – pretty sure I hit gallop for a couple of strides.
Now this is the point where I think things have improved for me over the past wee while, I realised what was happening and thought of my halt work in the lesson the night before and of Olivia’s advice earlier. I sat heavier in the saddle, pushed my heels down, turned my toes inwards and pulled the reins then released then did the same again. Anna slowed to a trot then a walk then we halted. I was incredibly tense, saying ‘Errr I am really tense here’ and then had Olivia make me do trot circles on the beach with her all the time breathing and relaxing.
It isn’t a big deal but the fact that I dealt with that without getting off and that I wasn’t nervous the whole ride back is progress for me. I can’t wait for my next beach ride or my next lesson.