For some reason June feels like April outside at the moment, but the light nights are lovely which is kind of making up for the fact that I think I have only been outside in short sleeves once so far this year. I am only sort of joking there although to be fair it has meant I have a longer lead in time to make the tshirt and vest top that are next on the sewing list.
Saturday on the other hand was a lovely warm day and there was even sunshine – in fact both days at the weekend were warm meaning the beach I ride on had more people and dogs than we have seen for a long time. The horses are not scared of dogs but lets be honest if you have a dog and you see horses please keep the dog under control – the horse I am on may not be scared of it but it will have no qualms about kicking it should they deem it necessary. Also it is worth noting there are horses that are scared of dogs and dogs that are running around horses legs have a severe chance of being injured and nobody wants that,
Anyway enough about that, I had a wonderful hack on the Saturday with the old dude Flame, racketing about the beach and wandering along cliff tops. Sunday’s hack did not go so well, I was riding Danny who I have wanted to ride for a while – he is a handsome bay horse whose mane looks like it has been crimped, he is a little cheeky but only in the sense of sometimes forgetting his manners and how tall he is. It was strange being up so high after riding the more compact ponies of late but I felt comfortable and we were soon marching around although if I took my concentration off him he did try to dawdle along. On the beach I had a wee trot off with one of the leaders to try and get a feel for him and when we trotted back to the group Danny decided to try and have a wee canter back. He is strong but I pulled him back to trot and felt quite good. So off we went for a group trot on the beach, unfortunately a mix of misunderstandings led to the lead horses cantering when we weren’t expecting it and so whoooshhh Danny took off in canter. I panicked, I can reflect quite calmly now that I did most things wrong and I am so incredibly frustrated with myself for this. I ended up unbalanced and up on my toes in the stirrups while shouting ‘I NEED SOMEONE TO STOP!!!’ as while the leaders continued to canter I seemed unable to slow down. Then Danny and I swerved right towards the sea and I nearly exited stage left – in fact I really thought about taking my feet out my stirrups and jumping. But I didn’t and as another rider came up alongside me I managed to compose myself enough to actually slow Danny to a trot. For the rest of the ride I was tense and to be frank upset with myself – Danny really didn’t do anything wrong and I have to sort these things out not look for others to constantly help me.
Lots of soul searching and discussion was had amongst my riding crew and I think two of us are left feeling just a bit down and frustrated about it all. But I have to remember the positives and I was asking my mate to as well, we both easily thought of three positives so the ride was not as bad as we thought.
Last night at my lesson however I had a belter. I rode Seamus for the 2nd time and it was a new lass teaching me, just for that lesson, and she nailed exactly what I needed. We worked on balance and control in the canter and we worked hard. I kept gripping with my knees and starting to lose my stirrups but after various adjustments I got my canter seat back!!!! Three times!!! You have no idea how happy I am to type that. I think the instructor thought I was insane with the smile I had on my face but it really does feel like I am in the correct places to cement and grow my learning.
So a mixture of feelings from riding at the moment but I do have more joy than frustration and I have asked to ride Danny next week but on a quieter hack and do work with him on the beach – I refuse to let my nerves hold me back on this one. Wish me luck! In other horse-y news the holiday to Ireland and another visit to Cumbrian Heavy Horses are both booked – eep cross-country jumping in Ireland, that will definitely test my balance.