I was actually looking forward to riding Bella yesterday but ended up having Shadow instead. I was not disappointed and decided to see how it’d go with my gorgeous friend.
But before the lesson even began, I was put to work in the yard. I’ve always said that learning stable management is something I want to do as much as the learning to ride part. So yesterday, I was picking up the straw bales and passing them over the fence to our school owner and she would pass them up to the shelter that we have built in the field. It was great to be a part of the team and helping as much as anyone else without anyone worrying how I would handle it.
Once we’d done that, I was sent to brush and tack up Shadow by myself. He still had his rug on so I proceeded to remove his rug, but one of his back leg straps was jammed so I didn’t want to break it so asked one of the ladies to look at it. She in turn didn’t want to break it so called the school owner who untied it and I brushed Mr Shadow.
He’s always hated his face being brushed since our school owner got him, no one knows why but he will run around the stable, toss his head and basically avoid you doing it.
Over the past few months, I’ve tried, little by little to increase the face brushing with him without stressing him out. Yesterday was the first day he allowed me to brush both sides of a very muddy face, even above his eye and near his ear. I was chuffed to pieces. He is learning to trust me now and allow me to do it knowing I won’t hurt him.
It’s taken a long time but I’m happy he’s learning to trust me more.
He was a filthy pony but brushed him up good and put on his bridle, tying up his reins as I then put on his saddle. Just as I was buckling up the second girth strap, my instructor asked if we were ready, I said, almost and then lead him out to the mounting block. It’s so rewarding for me, to be trusted to brush and tack up my own horses now. I know a trivial thing but huge for me. 🙂
The sun was shining, I was on my favourite pony but the lesson was not to be a breeze.
He was testing me considerably yesterday. Gone was the nice, compliant pony who would walk around the school and in his place was a corner cutting, drifting monkey. I didn’t mind, it was making me learn to use my legs so much more. I kept using the reins a little in the beginning but gradually I relaxed into it.
It’s almost like Shadow’s said, right, you’ve had two nice lessons where I was a good pony but now you’re going to learn to ride me properly. Anyone think he’s been talking with a certain HRH Bella?
He was responding to my leg yeilding which was great though.
We changed the rein then and everything just changed. Once I was on the right rein, my control was better, my consistency better and the trotting was coming together better, although still not perfect.
My RI asked if I was right handed? I said, I was, why, could she tell? And she told me its common for riders to find the rein they are preferable to using in daily life their easier rein. So my right is clearly my easier rein.
I needed to keep Shadow more together yesterday. Our trots were losing energy and he was falling in. Crazy that a year ago, I’d read those words on Lorraine’s school your horse site and not truly understand what they meant and now I know exactly what it feels like when Shadow falls in.
I’m progressing on both he and Bella in different ways and its great to see the comparisons of my strengths between the two rides. Bella’s contact is much better, she’s made me understand what she likes but I’ve only ridden Shadow three times in the school so still learning so much about him.
It’s weird but awesome how you learn different things from different horses in different circumstances. I’m sure one horse will teach me better dressage things whilst another may teach me better jumping skills.
I’m loving this journey and loving the horses more and more for the things they’re teaching me.
I stayed to watch a bit of jumping done by our school owner, [my school instructor] and her friend by our hacking RI. They’re trying to get her to give them feedback on jumping to help them and show her how good she is at teaching. And I can vouch for her teaching ability. Until last September she was my riding teacher effectively.
Fabulous day at the yard and I’m up on Sunday to have fun with the horses out on hacks again.
That’s it for today,