I have been stressed with life in general the past month or so, with it only escalating this week with Guide Dog issues. I am only telling you this as my sleeping, eating and other such things have been abysmal. Wednesday night, despite being exhausted, I could not sleep. It was past 6 AM when I finally dosed off and had to be up by 8:30.
I really thought yesterday was going to be either great or I’d come away feeling absolutely crap! I was surprised by the day’s events.
I had clean forgotten that some schools are having half term this week while the other schools are having half term next week. Who thought this was a good idea is clearly an idiot. So I arrived and there was no one in the yard which didn’t concern me. I just assumed my RSO and my hacking RI had gone to fetch some horses in. I waited around, petting horses then it dawned on me that there were children coming down the lane with horses.
I really wasn’t sure if I was going to get a lesson and it was freezing by this point. Once things had calmed down, children crying because they were scared of a horse standing on them and other such things, my RSO and school instructor came over to say things were a little crazy as I could tell, would I mind brushing a horse? I said I didn’t mind at all so she asked if I’d brush Topaz who I was currently having cuddles with anyway. I smiled to myself, as I know he’s her personal horse. She told me not to brush his back as he’s over sensitive on it and was using one of the harder brushes, can’t remember the name of it right now. So I gave the gorgeous, cheeky fella a good old brush and just as I was finishing, my RSO said would I mind waiting for my lesson as she was needed on the ride. At our riding school, we have ponies for the day which means the kids are there all day and go on rides but most of them need a hand and are just learning about horses. I didn’t mind in the least and asked what needed to be done? She said I could brush the pony next door so I took myself off to brush him.
After I’d done that and navigated my way to the loo which I was totally impressed with my little self for, the ride reappeared but it was lunchtime. I asked if I should do something else as I knew my ride would be after lunch by this point, my RSO said I could brush Harry if I wanted, told me which stable he was in and informed me her car and a trailer wear at that end of the yard though too so be careful. She didn’t take me to Harry and that was good. More and more now, I’m sent off to do jobs.
Went into Harry’s stable and he still had his rug on so I took that off and began brushing him. He was doing a little dance but I moved with him and got him almost clean. He had hard mud stuck stead fast into his feathers which I told my RSO about. I also discovered a stone on the floor of his stable which I picked up so it didn’t go into his hoof.
After brushing Harry, I returned to the office and was just chatting while they organised for the afternoon when one of the horses tied to the fence got lose. My RSO said, “Marie, catch that pony”. I said, where is it, and she said in front of me, so I walked up to it, it was just standing there and got hold of itts rope and walked it to the fence while my hacking RI tied her back up. That made me giggle a little, the blind person catching the pony and no, I don’t care she was standing still, it was my first catch. I also helped some of the younger kids as they were checking water and hay and such and they wanted someone to help them go into Topaz’s stable as he’s so much bigger than them. Then I took Topaz out to eat some grass while the pony day group learned to muck out his stable. Then I was called to mount Bella.
I walked up to the school with her and we did a walk around the school. Bella was being her usual self but I didn’t let it bother me. I really rode every step with her.
We worked a lot on changing reins yesterday. C end is still somewhat a no go zone, the rain has barely let up so laying new surface hasn’t been practical. So we didn’t work on changing the rein at H or M. But we did a lot of changes at b, F, K, E and although the first two were a little too sharp, my RsO said I got them pretty dead on every time. She was as surprised how quickly I picked it up as I was. Bella did try to drift sometimes so I had to keep on her quite considerably while walking the small diagonals.
Every time Bella was losing her concentration, we did a trot around the school which was like pulling teeth although my rising trot is considerably better on her which is somewhat amazing. I was really struggling trying it on Shadow and Topaz on Sunday so the fact I have it in the school with Bella is somewhat strange but positive. My RI said once I’ve mastered the lay out of the school, we’re changing horses as she knows how Bella is so particular. If you can’t hear my sigh of relief, you’re in outer space. So all it means is mastering longer diagonals, and some of the other shapes I’m guessing and bring on Shadow or someone. She even mentioned Topaz which was like wow, to me. So it’s confirmed, Bella is my mapping the school out pony so the fact trotting and such is not so successful on her is not a huge thing. She’s doing a job for us and that’s all good.
My RI said my reins looked so much better to. My turns are more subtle, I’m moving her effectively when she’s deciding she’s going somewhere else. The lightness in my reins and my effective legs are making a great difference.
We did work very hard yesterday and I finished the lesson feeling like I’d achieved so much more.
I also had some interesting conversation with my RsO about working with horses. We chatted about animal communication, reiki, body-talk and crystal therapy. I am trained as a human holistic therapist and had inquired about training in equine therapy to no avail but seems my investigation may not be over. She also told me a friend of hers has qualified as an animal assisted therapist and she did not get a degree in psychology/counselling so she’s going to ask her about that for me. Fingers crossed.
After I’d dismounted, as the ponies for the day were trying bare back on a smaller pony, my RsO asked if I’d mind holding Bella as she was being used on the next ride? I said I didn’t and kept her still and quiet. Even when she tried to pull toward the bales of hay, I kept her under control. When the little girl who was riding her was placed in the saddle, I stood with Bella, holding her as I know how fidgety she can be until they were ready to go on their ride. I helped the little girl adjust her reins so they were right and kept chatting to her about the horses.
It was a great day, spent outdoors with my favourite animals despite the cold weather. I loved every moment and the smile it brought to my face was one I needed. It’s nice to be trusted and allowed to do things when most of my life is spent battling to gain equal access. I was asked to brush the biggest horse on the yard, a horse I’ve never brushed before and wasn’t hand held at all. I helped some of the younger kids while improving my navigation of the yard. I caught a pony and while they were all on a ride, I was minder to the yard. great day! 🙂
Thanks for reading,