What A Shadow Week

I’ve started helping out before hacks and lessons on a Sunday as it is an extra pair of hands and gives me lots of practice. Sure, I’d be rubbish at mucking out lots of stalls but filling hay nets, brushing ponies and now tacking up is becoming my forte.

I arrived slightly late due to oversleeping thanks to noisy neighbours but I got a lot done in the time from arriving and my first hack so it’s all good.

I brushed the old gent of the yard, a sweet pony called Toby. I’ve brushed this gorgeous lad a fair few times so it’s old work for me. Once I’d brushed him, I put his saddle on, leaving his girth loose until he was to be ridden. We always put the bridles on just as they’re going out at our yard.

Once Toby was done, I went to Jim, our previous stallion of the yard and took his rug off, brushed him and saddled him up to. It was rather funny because I’d ask the younger helpers which saddle it was and they’d happily go and fetch it for me. Such little darlings…. sometimes. 🙂

I then went to brush a pony I’ve not brushed before. She’s a sweet little thing, standing probably around 11 or 12 hands. I have no idea but she’s a ickle wickle pony girl. Her name is sandy. Such a sweetheart. I brushed her through to, and it felt so strange brushing a little one. I’m so used to at least the 13 hands horses when brushing but you could really tell the fragility of a horse’s legs when you look at a pony’s.

As I was brushing her, some of the younger ones were in the stable next door, where I was told they were being attacked by one of our other little ones. I was in the pony block. I asked if they knew which was Sandy’s saddle and one of the little gems went off to get it for me.

She was saddled up and I was done. One of the kids must have thought I was in charge while my hacking RI was out on a hack and our RSO was teaching and asked if she should muck out Topaz. I said I didn’t know and she should ask our hacking RI when she got back. Bless. I’m not that bossy, I promise.

I asked for Bella at first but my hacking RI said I could have Shadow. So Shadow it was.

There were only a few of us on this ride and we were behind the lovely Toby. I’d messed with my stirrups, they hadn’t felt right before leaving the yard and thankfully had got them right. I don’t know about anyone else but I tend to ride with my stirrups shorter in the school. My school RI says I appear to ride naturally long and I guess it is true as I ride much longer out on hacks.

His trotting was beautiful and I felt my rise was so in control. He cantered beautifully for me on both spots. We did the road route first yesterday.

On the way back from the yard, my hacking RI said she might ride out with me on the next one so I told her not to jinx it so she said, she wouldn’t ride out then. But…. Yes!!!! She did. And we had a blast!

There was my hacking RI on Fleur, the horse she often rides on when I’m on Bella, I was behind on Mr Shadow and another girl was riding behind us. We took the farm hack and I hoped we’d be doing the long canter stretch up the back hill.

We first trotted and I could feel Shadow happy to be out without anyone on the ground. Then onto the field by a wall that we are permitted to use and he cantered then transitioned down to trot. My RI said, “where was the canter?” I told her we had but he’d transitioned down and I hadn’t pushed him back into it. I know I should have.

Then back down the field and he flew lovely for me! I’m so in his rhythm now, like with many of the others, I can’t remember what not having my seat feels like.

Off the field and we trotted a good distance. The great things about these hacks, there is so much more of everything.

I wasn’t sure if we’d go around onto the field again, like we had in a previous week but we were going down a hill, which we have done before then turned left onto a field but no, at the bottom, my hacking RI said, you ready? I was more than ready! After doing this canter with Topaz a few weeks ago, I was more than ready to try it on my beloved Mr Shadow.

She took off with Fleur, I leant up in my two point seat, barely touched Mr Shadow’s sides and off we went into a beautiful canter. it’s a long stretch, not sure how long exactly but the longest canter we can get on such a short ride.

He flew along, my hands low but constantly in contact and control, my legs in their heels down positions and my horse flying beneath me. I’m always amazed how secure I’ve felt in the two point position on Shadow and Topaz. I didn’t think I would on either as they’re such big horses. I’d felt a little unbalanced on Bella when we’d done it on a two hour hack and pulled back on her and we all know how unforgiving she is of that tactic. I don’t know what it is about these two but I just seem to trust them more maybe and I don’t have to fight with them either.

Maybe, now I’ve schooled Bella more, it’ll feel better on her. I’m not sure. Probably felt tense on her and that attributed to my unsteady feeling in the two point seat.

So Shadow’s flying along, I can hear the pounding of hooves from the three horses and lovely Shadow doing the canter snort all the way, it was beautiful!. I slowed him to a trot near the top and my instructor said my two point seat looked really good. I laughed and asked shouldn’t she has been watching where she was going? She replied, she turned around a few times to check on both her riders. But we were both fine! I was more than fine. I was ecstatic.

I told my instructor I felt so secure with him. I felt like I had complete control even though we were going a fair distance and flying in canter. I just hope one day soon I’ll be getting him on a longer ride.

A long rein for the ponies while we walked a little further and one more wonderful trot and back to the yard.

There was huge hugs for Mr Shadow, polos for him and I even got a cuddle with her royal highness to. Brilliant morning!

Thanks for reading,


This Post Has One Comment

  1. What a fantastic day that sounds! You’ve made me miss my riding now… Must book a lesson pronto! Great stuff Marie, so happy you had such a fab time!

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