Yesterday was cold but dry so was very much looking forward to riding. I decided to ride HRH Bella first. The funniest thing is that whilst my blog readers refer to her as that, so do the girls at the yard. She is somewhat of a princess of perfection so the name fits completely.
The first ride was huge! In fact, I commented during the ride how I felt we were in some kind of parade; there were that many of us. I was about forth or fifth in the line behind a pretty mare I’ve ridden behind before.
Bella was forward and utterly responsive. Her trots were beautiful and I felt as though she and I were working super well together. My contact was light but consistent and my seat and legs were light but effective. I’ve been trying to figure out which leg she likes best! My riding school instructor said to experiment a bit with Bella. To try where she likes the leg best. Further back, or forward, in one particular way or another so yesterday gave me a little chance to do this. Or so I thought. It seemed I barely needed leg with Bella at all yesterday.
We did attempt a canter but seen as I was the only one in the entire procession of ponies capable of one, Bella decided she wasn’t going to bother. Can’t say I blame her. It’s much more fun cantering with your mates, right?
I realised to that my confidence on the road route has increased considerably. I just needed a little guiding vocally around some parked cars but managed it perfectly well. I felt completely independent on Bella yesterday and felt totally in control to. It was a fabulous feeling!
I was allowed to take Bella completely by myself back to her stable. I jumped off and ran up her stirrups, my hacking RI said, I can trust you to take her in by yourself can’t I? So I did. I just asked in relevance to where I was standing with Bella was her door and she responded that the top half was behind me so I could denounce that I could open her door and safely take her in with no issue. I felt happy to do this. I’ve been allowed to untack for a while but never been unsupervised really until yesterday, not leading them in completely on my own but Bella and I managed it very well.
I asked to ride Kenny next and almost didn’t ride as I felt a little guilty that I’d be the only rider. My hacking RI was in some pain so didn’t want to ride out but she said she needed to keep warm so a run would be nice. I haven’t had that one on one with her for a long time. It used to be how I rode. I’d go up during the week and she’d take me out on a hack leading me. Yesterday was so different. No longer did I need tonnes of corrections or need leading, but it was kind of nice to get her feedback from the ground.
Kenny kept trying to run her over so had to used my right leg against his side and half halt with my right rein to keep him on the left of the road. We did both rides on the road yesterday as the fields on the farm hack are just mud.
Trotting was fabulous for the most part on him. In fact, I surprised myself. He hates riding out alone. Most horses, I think, prefer to be out with their equine companions but he particularly is hard work when he’s by himself. I kept him walking and trotting in some lovely rhythms for the most part. He did go ploddy on one but got him back to a forward motion.
The canters were beautiful on him. As I’ve said recently in this blog, I was so disconcerted with his canters in the beginning but now I absolutely love them. I got a lot of praise and compliments from my RI. She said how neat and controlled my canters were on him and even on a piece of ground that didn’t please King Kenny, as he’s nicknamed at our yard, I still managed to get him to canter.
I got quite a lot of praise yesterday, I’m surprised my head isn’t exploding today. I was told how much they like me brushing the horses as I really get the dirt out. That meant a lot after the effort I put in with the hairy pony on Thursday. It was also commented on how I am understanding of the horses. I don’t just dismiss Bella as lazy or Harry slow, I understand that Bella is particular and will do it when you ask correctly, or most of the time she will and that Harry can fly along with the best of them with a capable rider on his back. To have that noted by someone who works with these animals all the time made me smile. I do try to understand the horses and am patient with them to the best of my ability. Sure, I get frustrated at myself but rarely the horses and I absolutely love helping out where I can. If grooming is one of my strengths, i’ll keep doing that where I can. My hacking RI also said how well I did on both Bella and Kenny and said she thought I did well in the school on Thursday. She also told my school instructor how well I had done on both horses. Beams all around!
Yesterday was a lot of fun and can’t wait until my next ride and lesson later this week. 🙂