I had offered to go up to the yard earlier this morning as our riding school owner was away for the day. An extra pair of hands, even my hands are better than none right?
I arrived and started brushing Mr Shadow. He was being a super good boy. He hates having his face brushed but today, I just gently touched his face with my body brush and he promptly put his head on top of my head and allowed me to brush his face. It was super cute!
Once I’d brushed him, I went to brush Topaz. The nicest thing this morning was that no one was holding my hand at all. I had to get off both horses rugs and entered both stables on my own. Little things to most but huge to know I’m trusted to do those things by myself now. and it all felt so natural, like I’d done it all for my entire life.
as I was finishing brushing Topaz, my hacking RI asked if I wanted to ride him. He’s been out of work over the winter so I’ve not ridden him in a long time. I knew it’d be fun to be back on the big, cheeky bay.
One of the girls grabbed his tack and I tacked him up.
Once mounted, it felt awesome to be back in his saddle. This horse is so much fun to ride.
We followed behind Shadow and headed up on to the farm.
My first canter was beautiful! Topaz has a slight bounce to his gait but a really long stride and I was so happy how quickly I fell back into his rhythm. I guess experience does that with switching up horses.
Quite a few nice trots and our hacking RI said we would go on the back hill to get a really good canter. I was a little nervous as the only horses I’ve ridden up the back hill were Bella and Shadow. I wasn’t sure how I’d handle the fabulous part thoroughbred on the back hill.
We took off, me in my two point seat. There was a hairy moment where I thought I’d lose my stirrup, then I relaxed and just enjoyed it! The wind whistling by my ears, The horse beneath me cantering along in a faster canter than I’d experienced with him. I’m not sure why but may have kept myself a little close to his saddle. I was leaning forward and over his neck but a few times I felt the saddle near my bum. I didn’t feel unsafe or unsteady, it was just really different to Bella and Shadow. He was more ready to fly than Bella and more determined to keep flying to. He’s also bouncier in canter than Shadow so it was definitely an experience. Besides Shadow and my slow gallop with him up the back hill, this was the longest stretch of canter I’ve had and appreciated that our RI took us on the back hill as a lot of our cantering grounds have been restricted by the land owners for hay growing.
It had started to blow a bit and Topaz clearly wanted back to his stable. My RI said I had looked really good on him today. A few people have said it in the past but it’s the first time my hacking RI had said it.
I felt so happy though. He’s not a beginner’s horse. And I rode him completely by myself today and on a cantering area the horses know is time to let lose on.
My hacking RI also said she can see a huge difference now on Topaz with what I’ve learnt in the school. And that probably contributed to how I rode him today.
Next, it was Mr Shadow. I carried my crop purposefully as last week he’d been a bit of a monkey.
He was forward though today. His trots a little sluggish but the horse in front of us wasn’t going too strong so it was hard to get him to really step out.
He cantered beautifully to today without any use of the crop. I was super pleased with him!
He was walking lovely and responded excellently to all of my aids. And it didn’t rain once!
I know I need to do more long canters out on longer hacks to build my confidence. I know I can canter and can stay in my seat with little issue now, even on bouncier horses but I need to build my confidence for those times when the horses shoot forward into faster canters or even gallops. I know the lack of cantering recently with being on horses like Bella hasn’t helped. So now the cantering boys are back, lets hope for some fun times cantering across the fields.
Thanks for reading,