If anyone remembers reading my earlier blogs, you will know the first horse I rode at my riding school was a 14.2 HH sweet but slow coach plodder named Harry. Harry is the type of horse, you just have to love. He’s cheeky, sweet, loving but my goodness, is he hard to get going most days.
I think they put many novice riders on Harry because he’s ploddy and likely to just plod along without causing the rider much issue. For this same reason, once you’ve learnt to ride for a while, he can be hard work. Harry is stubborn and he’s also just Blasé about the world. Not to mention Harry is the horse that the hungry as a horse phrase was coined for. If you make him leave his beloved hay net behind, you’re going to suffer for it on the ride. Needless to say, that your leg muscles get a work out on him.
Harry was my only choice of horse today. Kenny was resting after his competition yesterday while Shadow, Bella and I believe Topaz all went to the competition today. So it was Harry. I wasn’t dismayed at all, you often get off of Harry feeling like you’ve run a marathon but it’s always a smile upon your face once you’ve got a cuddle from the hairy beast.
I went and put Harry’s bridle on, which is always fun to do. Try and get that horse away from his hay net. But managed it and then I knew I was in for it. I asked him to walk on, he just stood still. Most of our riding school horses are good about walking when you ask, Harry did not want to leave his hay today.
Eventually mounted, and my usual RI came over and said she was giving me a crop today. She showed me how to hold it and said to just tap him behind my leg as I squeeze to get him to do what I’m asking if he didn’t respond the first time I asked. I’ve never used a crop before so this was all new to me.
Up the hill we went, and to begin with he was ploddy Harry but then I swear, if I didn’t know better they switched the horse from underneath me. No longer was I on the ploddy familiar horse I was used to but an energetic, eager horse was walking along so nicely. I smiled and our first trot was lovely, although short lived.
Second trot was non existent to begin with so my RI came over and showed me how to put reins into one hand while tapping the crop on his side when asking if he refused to go off of my leg. This didn’t work at first but on the third attempt, he trotted. She said I need to mean it without whacking him and that’s what I’m afraid of doing. I don’t ever want to hurt the horses but I understand a crop is a useful tool.
Down the cobbles we went and usually, Harry plods so much down the cobbles that he trips but no tripping for Mr Harry today, he was forward and collected until the mean flies got to him. He’s sadly really bothered by flies, he’s so yummy tasting apparently that the flies just swarm around him so Harry gets scared when flies are about. He broke into a trot but I quickly got him back to a walk, and told him it was OK, we’d get rid of the mean flies. He was still rather quick and when the horse in front of us trotted as instructed, I had to really make Harry stand. He wasn’t interested in standing but made him and off we went into the most beautiful, forward trot he’s ever done for me. However, halfway through, it was apparently time to canter but I quickly got my half halts and transitioned him back to a trot with ease. Smiling all the while, as he’d not been a good little, keep my hooves in line pony today, I’d kept him under good control anyway and had a fabulous ride on him. If it had ended there, it would have been my best ride on Harry to date. But we had the back lane to go on yet.
As we turned the corner, my RI took my crop away as she said I wouldn’t need it, he’s full of energy. I said OK, but didn’t really know what would happen. This was a new experience with Harry being so full of life so who knew what would happen?
The girl in front went and Mr Harry was eager to follow so off we went and into an amazing canter. He was fabulous and probably could have gone on and on but I knew I’d have to trot him soon as there’s a road so had to transition down to a trot and I only just realised this but my sitting trot was really good on Harry after that fabulous canter. I was so pleased. I’d got him going and in a perfectly, balanced, forward canter. Loved it!
He walked very forwardly to the yard and jumped off, took him back to his stable and untacked him. What a good boy he was! That was a Harry no one sees often but I was delighted to experience it.
My RI said I did brilliantly on him today and have the Harry knack. I’d be delighted to go on him again. Not sure if the presence of a crop helped but I don’t care, that horse was a legend today, just wish it hadn’t been over so soon.
Holding a crop takes a lot of getting used to but glad I’ve finally had one in my hand in the saddle.
So looking forward to next week.
Thanks for reading,