It was windy but still dry this morning which was awesome. I got to the yard, very happy to ride whoever was given to me but it seemed I had a choice of Harry, my super speed horse from last Sunday, Miss Diva Bella who was standing sleepily in her stable; Cute coloured Kenny who is my RI’s favourite horse but has taken me a long while to adjust to or my faithful favourite, Shadow. I decided, seen as I’ve been riding Shadow a lot recently and I rode Harry last week, I’d ride Kenny as Miss Bella looked like she was preferring to nap and I wanted an amazing canter and Kenny often delivers.
I put his bridle on as my RI put on his saddle, he can be tetchy about the saddle with some people. I lead him out and he was being a little bit mindful of what he was doing. He wasn’t sure he wanted to head for the mounting block but I won in the end.
I voted we went up today as I knew we’d get more canters in. I was the only one on the ride doing canters but the others could trot.
I was following a reluctant pony in front up the hill and Kenny was behaving rather well. His trot was quite forward but my RI said she wanted to see more energy next time.
When we got to the field we’ve been cantering on recently, the first pony trotted, and I went off into a lovely canter. It wasn’t as forward but it was good. This is a bouncier pony so the fact I’m in my seat now is just pure amazing to me with him. He was one of the ones I struggled so much to sit to but now it just feels great!
We turned around and I cantered back up in a lovely, forward canter. My RI said I was looking good on him and that pleased me. I’ve struggled so much with canter that now my adjustment is seemingly so easy to switch from a smoother gaited horse to a bouncier one and I can sit to both without great issue at all any more.
My RI told me to go lead file after we got off of the field. The pony in front was not enjoying being lead file at all. Saying that though, Kenny is not thrilled at ever being lead file either unless more experienced riders are on him. I was slightly pleased how I handled what happened next.
The path we trot along before we get to the cobbles runs along our top field where some of our younger horses and lame horses are resting. Kenny saw his friends and decided instead of going the way we were meant to, he would throw a little tantrum about being put in lead file and spin toward the fence. My RI said, don’t let him spin, but she didn’t come running, I pulled his left rein to stop him spinning and pull him the way we were needing to go and turned my body to the left, gave him a swift squeeze and push of the seat and firmly said, “Kenny, walk on!” He did and I was praised for getting him back under control. What is it with these horses testing me? lol.
We got onto the cobbles and I was handed a crop, just in case he was being a little stubborn again but he walked down the cobbles, just occasionally rushing himself so half halts came in nicely. He was really making me work today and checking I was on the ball. Our next trot at the bottom of the cobbles was lovely and my RI took the crop away as he was seemingly behaving again.
We had to go a different route home today, no back lane canters as the stupid trailer was still pulled out to far and wouldn’t make sense for us to go that way.
A further trot instead which he did beautifully and then we turned up the path to the yard that I normally walk up to get to and from the yard. Mr Kenny decided, “Hurray! We’re heading home, I’m trotting!” To which my response was, no you’re not young man and managed to steady him. Then he tried it again so was firm and we walked nicely all the way back. It was a great ride!
My RI said she was impressed with me on him today and as I’ve said before, knowing that horse is her usual mount means what she says means that little bit more when I’ve received comments about my riding him.
That was an incredible ride in itself, and I was buzzing off of it and enjoying the dry Sunday and cool breeze so asked to do another ride. I chose Shadow this time. Expecting another basic but thrilling ride on him like yesterday. But boy was I in for a surprise.
I went and took Shadow’s bridle down to his temporary stable. He’s been moved temporarily again. I called his name as I was walking toward him and the girl with me said he put his ears forward and looked at me. That’s so awesome. I walked in and he was standing there happily and quietly and allowed me to put on his bridle. I lead him out and jumped up on him and stood waiting…. And waited…. No one else came so my RI announced she had a surprise and we’d be riding out together, just her and me. I was thrilled and hoped beyond hope no other riders came.
She rode Kenny and lead the way up the hill on the farm hack. It was weird just me and her but so enjoyable. No people talking and distracting me, just Shadow and I and my RI and Kenny walking up the hill.
We did a lovely trot and I noticed a difference in Shadow immediately. He wasn’t the horse that I ride normally, he was forward and excited like nothing was holding him back.
We backed up on ourselves a little and she asked if I was ready for a canter? I said yes. Cantering on Shadow always feels safe and I knew he’d stick with Kenny so I gave a squeeze and off we went into the loveliest forward canter he’s probably ever done. It was beautiful!
She asked if that was OK, I said it was fine, he followed lovely and I could hear her so off we went again in another canter. I was so relaxed, so in my seat and riding alone without anyone to rescue me. Not that I really need rescuing with Shadow. Yesterday proved what an awesome bond we have to lead file.
We walked around the path and did another trot. Again, so free and almost like strings had been cut. He wasn’t thinking of other riders or walkers, he was thinking, lets go! And go we did.
After the trot, she just told me to come to the right as there was a hole in the ground but I managed it well. She was giving good directions and I appreciated the help she was giving me.
I had some lovely chats with her both about my progress and general other stuff and the horses of course. She took me around familiar routes then turned left. I knew normally we go right and down toward the stable yard but obviously time was on our side with us just riding together. She announced as we walked happily along that she had a special treat in store for me today. I daren’t dream of what that could be.
She guided me around some glass as we walked along a dirt track. She said we were going on the back hill. I’ve only ever heard the older girls who help out talk about the back hill and the amazing gallops they have up there. No way were we going to the back hill, not me and shadow. But we were.
She said I’d have to adopt my two point seat, could I remember what that was? I said I don’t think I’ve ever done it before she said she thought I had but told me what to do and said if at any time I felt unsafe to sit down or hold my saddle, she didn’t care. Just keep my heels down, and lean forward if I had to sit.
The horses knew what was coming. I could feel Shadow’s excitement but I knew he’d always take care of me. I thought he’d probably just canter as he might not feel I was ready for anything else. My RI never mentioned a gallop but I know what the two point seat is for although it would help in a canter up hill anyway. I didn’t care, if he cantered, it would be amazing all the same. I’m loving cantering now I have my seat and such.
We set off me raised slightly out of my seat, leaning forward, holding my reins and heels down. I cannot believe how relaxed I felt. This is me, who a few months ago couldn’t sit to most horses canters easily enough about to canter up a hill, the horse possibly springing to a gallop in a two point seat, what the hell? And I was as cool as a cucumber.
We set off in a lovely canter and he switched up but not for one minute did I think Oh crap. I felt safe, secure and exhilarated. He didn’t do a full blown gallop but my RI described it as a slow gallop. Hey, I’ll take anything. It was amazing! I can only imagine the brilliant, buzzing feeling a full blown gallop gives but I know I’ll find that one out one day!
We walked up the last part of the hill and I was told to put him on a long rein, another knew thing. I loosened them up and asked if that was OK. She said it was fine and it was just so he could breathe easier after that exertion. He got a lot of pats as we walked along again and we let the horses recover and then did a final canter. he was so brilliant. And I know he was loving it as much as I was.
A little further and our final trot. It was a pure blast! I was so happy I shared this experience with Shadow. It was my first ride out with him independently and my first introduction to galloping and two point seat. Words escape how amazing that was to me today and to share it with my lovely, tall, white friend was unbelievable. That’s freedom to me. Riding horses has given me so much that I can never truly thank them. I expressed my feelings to my RI, saying how two years ago, I couldn’t walk without someone leading and today I rode out with her, no one on the ground and cantered and even galloped for the first time without anyone’s help. Besides the little pointers for the glass and hole in the road. It’s surpassed any of my expectations of what I would ever get out of riding. I’m just so amazed of how far I have come with her help and the horses of course to. So unbelievable to me!
She said I had the biggest grin on my face and was glad I enjoyed it and how well I did. That was even more brilliant. Not only did she take the risk, I’ve never cantered without someone on the ground and have never ridden out with someone on Shadow and so it was probably my best horse riding experience to date. She did joke that I should hold back the emotion and no tears, I promised I wouldn’t cry, it was too brilliant for tears just big, fat grins instead. 🙂
Back at the yard, we did nearly walk into a fence but the RSO gave me directions and I joked was she getting in some practice, she laughed. I took him back to his stable and gave him lots of pats and polos and a huge cuddle. That horse really does take care of me. Even my RI said so today. He’s so loyal and my bond with him is just fabulous! Such a beautiful and kind spirit. My affection for him today only grew.
What an amazing weekend I have had indeed and I know Wednesdays ride will be much more subdued in activity but I don’t care. I’ve just taken another few steps in my horse riding journey.
Thanks to all for reading.