For most riders, going into the school is either their first step or a step that comes after learning a little. It’s an easy enough transition in regard to the fact they can see where they’re heading around the forty by twenty metre school. For me on the other hand, schooling is going to take on a whole mobility orientated journey.
I’ve become familiar over the past few years with the hacking routes we take but it is nothing like me using a cane or a guide dog. In my every day life I either use a cane to sweep left to right, right to left in front of me to detect any obstacles. I listen for traffic and judge when it’s safe to cross; I find cross lights, shop doors and such with the sweep of a cane. On my better mobility adventures are with Bailey my current Guide Dog who leads me around and avoids obstacles, keeping me in a straight line down a pavement to the best of his ability. On command, he will find a crossing light, shop doorway, the kerb, the post box and so much more. But when I started riding, it was like learning to get around all over again.
Suddenly, I was being lead around like I was in year three after I lost my sight. I had no control over where we were going and I only was giving the horse walk on commands.
Slowly, over time, my riding instructor let go of the proverbial and physical reins and I was given vocal instructions, left a bit, turn right, etc. That is where I generally am at unless I’m following another horse.
Without the physical cues I get on the ground, getting around on horse back isn’t as straight forward. But it’s doable with the right help and if I can follow, all the better.
Transferring those skills into the school, may be easy you may think. But suddenly, I have to adjust to a smaller area, with many turns and fences all around. So how do I make that transition?
The short answer is, I can’t. Until I’m physically in the school, on that horse, I will not know how easy it will be or indeed difficult it will be to adjust. I’m a fast learner of regular routes but ow this will fair in the school, I do not know.
To get the idea of how the school looks, I read Lorraine Jenning’s Getting Started, Know your School Guide from her website School Your Horse and started to map out what it said there onto a cork note board with drawing pins and then I labelled the pins, [markers] with their associated letters. Below is the picture.
Hope this is a clear picture. It may not be perfect but by making it by myself, I could get a clear image in my head of the layout of the school. When riding in it, I know there will be a sheer difference but I’m excited to learn.
Are there any tips you guys would give me on preparing or is it just trying it and seeing how things work? Any tips for first private lesson? Show up earlier than time? Wear a specific thing? Any tips would be greatly appreciated guys?
In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the horses and keep on riding.