I didn't start learning to ride until May 2010 and for the entire summer of that year was injured. My first year of riding was not that solid but since April last year, I've not missed a ride. I can walk, sit and rise trot, canter, and have started learning transitions and diagonals on a variety of horses. Come and join me on my adventures with my horsey friends all done with no sight on my part. don't feel afraid to ask me any questions. being blind and a horse rider is new, interesting and very exciting. So I hope you can gain something from reading this.
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
This morning's lesson was a bit of a mixed bag. I'm well and truly exhausted as my poor guide dog has been on steroids due to an allergic reaction so he's been peeing for Britain this past four days. Needless to say, I've had a few terrible nights sleep. I therefore put my rubbish lesson down to my own lack of concentration and ability to relax due to my lack of sleep. I arrived at the stables and learnt that I would be learning to tac up today. We started with the bridle. Pulling the reins over my tall white friend's head, then holding his nose firmly to place the rest of the bridle in position. I'm that tired, I cannot for the life of me remember which part I did first. But hopefully, my attention span will be revitalised for Thursday's lesson and I will give a step by step how to put a bridle on. I was then instructed how to put the saddle on. Holding it over my forearms, so my hands meet in the middle beneath, with the higher end on my right arm. Walk toward the horse, lifting it over the back and slowly and gently setting it down on the back, ensuring the front part of the saddle is sitting above the withers and that all is straight and not curled up anywhere. Then, pull the girth strap from the opposite side, without putting your head under their bellies, [which I did], whoops, and fasten it loosely to begin with to get them slowly used to their strap being fastened. Then tighten the girth so you can barely get two fingers between the girth strap and their bellies, [you'll need to tighten this again once upon your horse as it will slacken once you're in the saddle]. I led him out of the stable and pulled down the stirrups, mounted and my instructor adjusted the girth and stirrups for me and off we went. There was no lead file horse today, just myself, my instructor and my tall white friend. He walked very nicely up the path on the farm hack. He also trotted lovely and wouldn't transition down until I pulled back slowly on my reins and gave him a squeeze with my thighs and knees. He then walked well and we entered the field where we canter. The first attempt was not so bad. I just wasn't relaxed enough or giving him the definite, "Yes, lets go" signal. The second one was fabulous. I was then tested further when we came across his stable yard friends as they've been moved to a field where we pass now. He was trying to see what he could get away with. So I had to be a lot more bossier with my legs. Even had to give him a kick as he was not listening in the slightest. But finally, after learning to never give them their own way by turning them in a circle if they're trying to turn right, to always turn the opposite way so they don't "win," we carried on. Did another trot and then two more canters? The first, I nearly fell off, after losing both stirrups. Next time, I'll remember to lean back and stiffen to stop. My second attempt was slightly better but not many strides. I've definitely had better days for cantering. The remainder of the ride was me being slightly bossy as he was trying to do everything but what I wanted him to do. Trying to go left, or right so my legs were constantly working. It was good for me as a rider to experience this and learn how best to handle these situations. In the end he gave up and decided I was actually in charge. I tried something today. As we've been using the leg rather than the reins, when we've been turning left or right, I've tried to turn my body in the direction so I'm telling him with legs and my seat which way I need him to go. This worked nicely as we turned into the stable yard but I'm betting this was because he knew he was home. ;) So although, my leg work is coming along nicely, I had a terrible day with my cantering. I also blame my boots as it has rained so much I was wearing long winter welly type riding boots. They felt baggy and I wasn't comfortable in them at all. Jodhpur boots are definitely being worn on Thursday, even if I have to carry them. I know it sounds like I'm making excuses, and maybe I'm just rubbish and will never get a perfect canter, but never mind, we have to have bad days to know what the good ones are like. Thanks for reading, Until next time, Marie