I actually didn’t feel like the hour ride I did yesterday was at all a compromise. It was more of a pleasure.
I chose to do the hour because two half an hour hacks are the same price as an hour but I can ride out with more experienced riders, I.E., my hacking RI.
Yesterday, we were joined by a girl who helps on the yard with her own horse so the three of us rode together.
Bella was in a funny old mood whilst I stood petting her so I knew it’d lead to an interesting hack.
We mounted and headed up the farm lane. The field had a tight turn that Bella did not want to do so my hacking RI had to jump down and force miss thing to get her pretty little behind through the gap.
My hacking RI had my crop as she said if I needed it, she’d hand it over. I didn’t think I’d get the crop at all, especially after the first canter on the field. Bella went a few times, without the crop which is a huge relief as I can’t really discount our previous efforts on pure fluke and crop coincidence. I wasn’t keeping her there, or she wasn’t staying, not sure which but that will get worked out the more we do I guess.
Once we were off the field, My hacking RI handed over the crop and reminded me to just tap her up on the shoulder and not her hind quarters. I said, no problem and hoping I wouldn’t have to use it.
Bella’s trots were forward but not as forward as I know she can be at first.
We trotted up the path that normally leads down to the cobbles and continued up the path and around the farm. I had to keep her central along a narrow part that a stream ran down one side which was totally OK. She followed nicely behind my hacking RI.
We cantered again up a long lane that seemed to have good ground. She sprang off, then trotted, I squeezed and she went back again but nothing as impressive as my last two hour hack. Even when I tapped her up with the crop, she sprang off again but not for long. I know she and I will get there, we’ve only just entered into cantering land together. I know it must seem like a step back but for me it feels like a leap forward. I can canter confidently on horses like Shadow and Kenny but Bella, until a month ago had never cantered properly for me. I’m still finding her buttons and she’s not like most horses that will just do any old canter, it has to be just right for her royal highness. If nothing else, Bella will make a decent rider out of me yet.
Once off the farm, we got onto the estate we use for road work and I am happy to say, I handled it all fine.
I’ve rarely ridden without people on the ground on road hacks so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel, especially being at the back. But we did some very long trots past parked cars where my RI would yell, a right a little, back into the left again. We also encountered moving cars and I didn’t tense or flinch once.
I felt my trots were much more fluid on Bella to yesterday. I could easily control her speed with my rising trots. All that work in the school is helping with lighter seat, leg and control. Not once did she feel tense yesterday and I was just enjoying the late winter’s sunshine on a mare that has taught me and continues to teach me so much!
We arrived back and I untacked her and gave her cuddles. Also got a cuddle with Mr Shadow and helped with the hay nets. So it was an all round fabulous afternoon.
Roll on my next lesson. Lets see what it all brings.
Here are some photos of Bella. Apologise if they are not very good, she kept moving. Until next time, thanks for reading,