This week’s lesson was always going to be challenging. The wind had been gusting like it was in a hurry to be somewhere else all week and had barely dropped by Thursday. The wind is challenging, not because how it effects the horses for me, although that’s always interesting but because I’m effectively doubly blinded. My ears are a primary sense when it comes to my riding.
I use sound and the echoes of sounds to help me navigate. It’s very useful in the school, especially on the track. But that was taken away and with a very unhelpful yet gorgeous pony, it was a challenging lesson.
Most horses get the wind up their rear and start prancing like the wind is in pursuit. Not Bella! Oh no! It was time to put the breaks on. The nice thing for me was that my RI pointed out that if I was doing something wrong, she could understand Bella not being helpful but I was doing everything correctly so Bella had no excuse.
For a learner, to hear that I’m doing everything right makes me beam from ear to ear. But getting Miss diva moving was something of a challenge on Thursday. Then she had spotted something nasty in the bushes so we stopped going large and moved to the A end of the school to work on circles.
We haven’t done circles for ages and I knew it’d be tricky. I expressed to my RI that I thought circles were going to be the biggest challenge for me. She said she disagreed. She had expected changing the rein and the centre line to pose huge problems for me but that hadn’t been the case so she had no doubt I’d be doing circles in no time.
As it happened, we worked out that after K, I’d walk on two strides and aim my shoulders, but only my shoulders slightly to the right to let Bella know we were turning on a circle. My first few attempts were definitely squarcles and with practice and holding my hands still so not to pull her over and ride her confidently, I finally got a pretty decent circle before we ended the lesson.
The nice thing for me is that now we’re getting to the point that my instructor is picking up on what I am able to do and I in turn am learning what I can do and together we are working together to build up a very good system of direction and all the different formations in the school.
Bella was not our favourite horse during the first half but by the second half and during circle work, she redeemed herself somewhat. She has been a great teacher and my RI said she still had a lot more to teach but she felt we might change horses in my next lesson. I think she feels that although Bella has done a terrific job, now her marishness is getting in the way of learning to. So she said I had to remind her next week we were having a change. It’ll be another challenge for me, whoever it is to transition to another horse in the school. I need to learn its behaviours and movement like I have with Bella and apply all I have learnt so far with that horse.
I do feel a little smile of excitement though. I’ve obviously proved to some extent I can now move on to another horse and cope OK with the challenges it presents. I’m so super lucky to have an instructor who was willing to dive into the unknown with me and go on this learning curve. But in my opinion, it is the sign of a really good instructor to want to take on that challenge and keep an open mind and add to her own experience as a riding instructor. She could have so easily referred me to a specialised riding school and not take me on but at the minute it is fun and I’m learning so much from her all the time.
I’ll be at the yard first thing in the morning. Going to help out a bit as our RSO, my school RI is taking the day off so there will be lots of people on the thirty minute hacks. I’ve decided to do another week of the thirty minutes so I can have a word with a certain Mr Shadow. Plus, I get to help out to which is great experience for me to.
Before I go though, want to share this picture my RI took during my lesson with Bella. Isn’t she a gorgeous girl now she’s been clipped? 🙂
Until next time, thanks for reading,