Many of you may be aware I started riding again this year. Back in March I started with a couple of 30 minute hacks, and then built up to an hour, then nearly 2 hour rides. This was all in prep for not just enjoying life again but to get back into the school and into lessons.
I enjoyed lessons. I adapted well and learnt so much and became a better rider because of them. But it’s been a struggle to fit life in. But i took the executive decision to do it anyway. Because horses are the things besides my Bertie guide dog that make me feel free and independent. No one else knows I cannot see when I’m on the back of the horse besides those who are with me. But I digress….
Today was the day I went back into the school. If you remember, at the old place, it was an outdoor school which caused some distractions and was not always pleasant in the rain or wind. But, the new place has an indoor school. Hurray! All about the indoor school.
I wasn’t sure how this would be different but I discussed it briefly with my riding instructor and she suspected it would be easier. I’d be able to hear the walls and also the distractions from weather and passers by would be much less. She was right!
I mounted Shadow and walked into the school with the guidance of my RI. She’s always been great at directing me whether in the school or out on a hack. She oriented me to the things at the C end where the door is and suggested we spend the first lesson on orienting me to the school. It made sense to me.
Shadow and I walked round the track on the left reign. He was lovely and forward and it was nice to have that instant forwardness. I felt the benefit of the walls of the indoor arena almost instantly. The C end is a little more tricky as that’s the door end and more open obviously but I definitely managed it well once we counted the strides once at M and H on the right reign.
Our walk was good and I started to feel as he’d go off track or too far into the corners. But my rI was good at pointing out the “sand dunes” and I could quickly feel when he’d done it.
Soon my RI asked for a trot and I almost bounced out of the saddle. His trot was so forward it was amazing. But I settled into it quickly and we had a good successful trot several laps around the school.
Our transition to the right reign however was super messy. and I had to get Shadow back in the thinking game. I worked out today, if he’s going slow, he loses focus and starts to drift. So forward walk is a must with him.
We trotted again and I think we managed three and a half circles of the school before I tired. That after nearly two years out of the saddle in the arena was pretty good going for me. And I was not incredibly tired either.
Something I was asked to work on was giving less aids. So my hands were over steering. My seat was busy. My rI asked I keep my hands low, and still. All she wanted to see were my leg aids and as soon as we did that, Shadow and I had a few amazing walks and trots around the school.
I learnt loads again today and revisited a few things too. Realised to, you never forget how to do it. Getting a pony over to the track is like so easy nowadays.
Another thing that clicked for me which weirdly never has before, on the last couple of circuits in trot, I suddenly felt my stirrups working for me and not against me. I’ve never felt balanced in trot in them until today in the school. They literally felt as though they were part of my riding boots. Something really clicked in there today. So exciting!
A nice long reign for Mr Shadow and a huge pat. I was so happy with the lesson and my RI was pleased to. Cannot wait for the next one.
Thanks for reading,