A Different Side Of Bella in the School

I was looking forward to my lesson this week. But I was super happy when I arrived and was asked if I wanted to brush Shadow. I love my bonding/brushing sessions with that gorgeous horse and was happy to give him some TLC as he is still on box rest. They’d hoped he’d be getting his shoe back on but it was not to be yesterday. The funniest thing was, that even the farrier said to me, he’s your mate, isn’t he? Seems everyone knows of my affection for Mr Shadow. 🙂

Anyway, Miss Bella was all clipped and was looking super flash with her new hair do. They clip Bella’s mane as it just is unruly otherwise so she’s sporting her lovely clipped hair do now. Wish I’d got a picture of her, I’ll get one I promise.

Anyway, we walked up to the school and I was expecting my usual few steps back routine that I seem to go through whenever there’s a few weeks gap between my lessons. Amazingly, that didn’t happen yesterday. I managed to keep my hands and legs and seat light for my lesson.

We trotted loads and I was getting better about preventing her from drifting. She always tries it on and as soon as I let her take an inch, she runs a mile. My legs which had been one of my aims to improve were perfect yesterday apparently.

But there was an element to Bella I’d never experienced truly until yesterday. She was chosen for me because she’ll slow down if I’m not asking correctly and I think my RI thought she’d be the most sensible horse in the school for me to learn on. Well, Bella decided to prove her wrong yesterday.

There were three horses in the next door field and Bella and I were trotting along happily and as soon as we reached the corner at H, a horse in the next field got his hoof caught in some bad fencing and the sound and the close proximity spooked Bella. So what does this usually calm, quiet, sometimes hard to get moving mare do? Spring off into canter. I’m happily doing my rising trot and then realise we’re now in a three beat gait and my backside better sit in that saddle, which I did. I sat back and slowed her. I laughed because what else was there to do? I just sat there and the first words out of my RI’s mouth was, your balance is really good and that canter, despite not asking for, was really nice.

I did smile. Even though it wasn’t asked for, I seemed to handle the situation with just calm resolve. We kept going but now Bella had been spooked once, and with the ponies in that field galloping up and down, she got it into her mare head that now she was going to spook for the sake of it.

Those horses are often in that field and last lesson had been running up and down E side of the school with us and she hadn’t bothered but that horse spooking her now made her think spooking was in her head. This was a side of Bella I had not seen. An energetic, moving machine. I even felt the tension in her back. It sort of feels like her rear end is up a little and my RI explained that’s the energy and her ready to explode with it but we have to keep it under control. Well, I tried.

But a lap later near to C, Bella decided she was going to bunny hop on the spot instead of continuing with our trot. Again, I just sat my bum in the saddle and pulled on my reins and tightened my knees. She then tried to trot off but I was told to make her walk which I did. We did get slightly disoriented during Bella’s bunny hopping moment so I was taken back to C and we continued.

My RI said, while she’s got all this energy, lets try and take advantage of it and try for a canter on the last time going from H to K before changing the rein. I asked, trot was all I got but I’m not surprised. But the fact my RI was secure enough from seeing how I coped with an unexpected canter to want me to try for one makes me a very happy rider.

So, a change of rein was then decided on and so at F I changed to H. My change of rein is relatively good despite not having a fence to hear.

She seemed to have spent all of her energy though and I’d ask with my light leg and she’d just stand there as though I’d done nothing. So I was told to keep increasing the pressure and when this didn’t work, the words Kick her she’s just being stubborn now were spoken so kick her I did and she eventually moved her marish behind.

The aim was to keep her in trot so I could use my leg effectively, keeping it light and keeping my seat light. My RI said when Bella slows, she pulls her head down with the lack of impulsion and that makes it harder for me to keep light but I must keep light to keep her going.

On the penultimate lap of the school, I got the timing just perfect and she kept going. My aim for next lesson is to get more perfect timings to keep Bella going.

We almost got a full lap on the last one in trot. She transitioned down to walk and I picked her back up and we got to F and slowed to a walk, stopping at A.

I was pleased I was way more on the track in yesterday’s lesson. Although once we changed the rein, I was tending to over steer her as I have to keep on top of her steering when she’s on the left rein as opposed to the right so that’s something else I must work on. But trotting around corners feels great now as I’m doing less and just moving with her.

Yesterday was a great lesson for all of us I think. My RI saw my balance is pretty decent and she seems more confident in my abilities now with asking me to try for a canter. It didn’t matter so much that I didn’t get one, that will come in time. Bella and I have progressed together so much in the past month or so, I just hope this is a partnership that keeps improving.

So until next lesson, thanks for reading,


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. How exciting Marie: plenty going on, and an unscheduled chance to show your RSO what you can do. Sounds like you hade fun and rode well – win win! 🙂 Quality Shadow time sounds lovely too.

    Spring is in the air at the moment (despite the current weather). It’s also the time of year where mare’s seasons start again, and the first of the year is often bigger and more tubulent than the rest. I can see it at our yard – two of the usually non-marish mares have been bucking, kicking b*tches! Once spring hits the geldings via the grass, it’ll all be fun and games. It is often such an entertaining time of year: sounds like Bella is feeling the mischief too! lol.

    I love a hogged mane, especially on heavier horses – it can smarten any cob into a hunter look (though I love a cared for hairy, I have to say). A pic would be fab please!

  2. Sounds like a really good lesson, even with the spooky incident. I love reading how you’re progressing with Bella and how your partnership’s developing. Fingers crossed you can do more cantering now that your RI’s seen you guys in action.

  3. Wow, sounds like that was quite an exciting lesson Marie! Well done for coping with all the unexpected elements so beautifully and calmly though, it’s great that your RI got see what you can cope with and trusted you to continue to do so as well. Ha-ha Bella sounds like a typical mare though, totally contrary! Full of beans and spooky one minute then firmly saying, ‘No, I won’t move another muscle!’ the next! It sounds like you cope with her temperamental side perfectly though, great job!

    How lovely that even the farrier notices your friendship with Mr Shadow. I’m so sorry to hear that his shoe still couldn’t go back on but it’s lovely that you were able to spend some quality time with him. I always loved just spending time grooming and cuddling the horses, I’m sure it builds up an extra level of bond and trust. My much loved stallion absolutely adored being groomed, right from being a foal. We often spent afternoons cuddled up in his stable, me getting free therapy from brushing him and him getting so relaxed he’d go all goofy and fall asleep on me!

    Hope Shadow is better soon and I look forward to reading your continuing adventures! Keep up the great work hon, you’re doing fantastically and really inspiring me with my own dreams and goals too – thank you x

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