Hand in Hoof, a partnership

I was slightly anxious this morning, not because I’m afraid of falling off again but I’m afraid of making an idiot out of myself. Falling off twice in two weeks is a joke if you’re just hacking so I hoped I wouldn’t but was excited to get to the yard anyway. I wanted to get on Shadow this week, partly because he’s my comfort zone and partly because I haven’t ridden him much lately. Maybe I should have gone for a more risky ride but it felt so super nice to get on that gorgeous, tall, white friend this morning. I wasn’t certain there would be much riding as we’ve had heavy rainfall and areas are flooded in our area but I had heard nothing so was relieved when I got to the yard and normal business was in session. Shadow was fidgety this morning. Even when I put his bridle on but I led him out to the mounting block and was sitting in that familiar saddle, knowing my stirrups were absolutely right and felt so safe. We did the road route first today which I haven’t done for a few weeks so that was nice. He was so forward and really full of energy, it was a pleasure to ride. At the beginning of our ride, his foot was apparently on an edge so my RI pulled him away. I think it must have had something to do with the rainfall as I don’t remember it ever being an issue before. Because no one would tell me what was happening, my hands tightened which made things worse and then once that was over and we were in our first trot, the relaxed hands were back and my contact was amazing with him. I think most of us have that particular horse we find is our comfort zone. They know us and we know them. I think I’ve probably ridden him the most and so it s the exact reason for it. He and I work well together. There was a lot of boggy ground today and on the ground we could have sneaked onto was very busy with people and dogs so we had a lot of trotting work which now I think about it I could have practiced sitting trot. I guess I was just so happy to be in the saddle again. Mr Shadow was being good but was a little difficult to keep him in line as there were a lot of parked cars so one of the girls would run with me during trot. She also came with me during canter as it was a chriss cross through trees and not very long. I’m happy to say, I got a lovely canter out of him and best of all, I think my fall has drummed into my bum that I need to stick it to the saddle during canter. I went with him so well today, feeling my hips move with the rhythm and not once feeling off set or off balanced. I’m so glad I got that canter today. I think if I hadn’t, I may have lost some confidence but I guess making the choice to ride my tall, white, faithful friend was one of my better decisions. The back lane was closed due to the water so no amazing canters on this ride. I got back to the yard, after many walks and trots and him listening so lovely and asked if I could ride him again. I was told to loosen his girth, tie up his reins so he could grab a quick break which I was happy to do. Amazing how I’m trusted now once I get off to lead them in and sort out their tack and stuff. I love that. I waited outside his stable, chatting to him and when it was time to mount, I led him out and tightened his girth and up I went into my faithful friend’s saddle again. He was much more fidgety on this ride. I had a very impatient pony. I seriously think if we’d had good cantering grounds today, he would have been off in some fabulous canters. We took the farm route this time and I was following another horse again with no leader. I love these rides. Not that the girls aren’t lovely but it is just me and the horse and the sense of freedom I get from that is incredible. The decisions are all mine and most of the time I get those right. Our trots were slightly less forward for the first half of this hack but I highly suspect the route may have had something to do with it. I guess horses get as bored as we do. I know my guide dog, if we’re doing the same routes, day in and day out, he’s much more ploddy than if we change it up a little. I bet horses, being the intelligent creatures that they are get the same way. This hack had no cantering on it at all but I just enjoyed being with my lovely Shadow and getting some real bonding time. My RI was busy with a lot of the other riders as they were beginners and needed a lot of feedback whereas I don’t think I got any corrections on this ride. I had a perfectly responsive pony minus the few times he tried to sneak a snack. Too bad Shadow, I know you too well now and can stop that before it happens. He didn’t get one munch under my watch. heehee. I put him back in his stable and gave him lots of cuddles and felt the lovely warmth from my heart that I have for this horse. He’s a pleasure to know and I just feel I have some kind of connection with him which is beautiful. I guess being around him shows me the beauty of what human and horse relationships are. So until next week, Thanks for reading, Marie

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  1. So glad you’ve had a couple of good rides again after last week. Never put yourself down on the falling off though – you’re far more likely to come off hacking than you are in the safety of a school! (Perhaps I shouldn’t have told you that?!)
    Stay dry 🙂

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