Sunday, 1 March 2009

Horsing around...


At last, I’ve got round to starting my blog – and about time too. As a novice horse rider and first-time horse owner, I’ve been meaning to write about my wonderful and not-so-wonderful escapades with a thoroughly lovely Thoroughbred called John. Me! A girl from Windy Nook who never rode as a child, never even patted a horse, discovered a whole new life when I went for my first riding lesson five years ago. I’ve never looked back – I’ve looked up (from the ground), down (headed towards the ground), but never back…

John came into my life around four years ago and I’ve been his proud owner for more than three of those. Not the best horse for a nervous new starter, he is a prime example of his breed – spooky! Now I know that all horses can be spooky, but John well, he can suddenly take a dislike to a blade of grass blowing the wrong way and shoot off with me. Or the quad bike on the yard where he lives – he sees it every day, day in day out, sometimes several times a day, but that hasn’t stopped him from freaking out when he hears it in the distance, two fields away, when the mood takes him.

At one time his sudden darting off at high speed would also have me darting off at high speed – into the fence or onto the floor. Lately though, I’m happy to say I’m hanging on. I don’t have a velcro bum yet, far from it, but I am managing to stick on and ride the spook, even sometimes riding him through it and out the other end into an (almost) controlled canter.

Today we worked in the school, walk and trot. Though we did do some canter, accidentally, when he tripped over his foot and gave himself a fright. Oh well. Sometimes the best way to get over your canter nerves is for your horse to get over them for you and just take off with you. It wasn’t an all out spook this time though, he hardly picked up any speed and contented himself with his impression of a rocking horse.

Our aim for this summer is to trust each other enough to be able to hack out. He, I know, will be fine – his previous owner said he loved to hack out. The problem lies with me and my lack of confidence, I need to trust him more. Lucky for me he is a patient teacher and though I sometimes infuriate him with my lack of skill, I know that he knows that I will get there in the end…

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