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.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Autumn, hacks, Apples and polos

Yesterday's lesson started much later than usual. I had an afternoon ride as opposed to an early morning one on a Tuesday. I had arrived late as the buses, [lets not talk about them], messed me about. So as soon as I arrived, my lovely, tall, white friend was tacked up and waiting for me.

There were two other riders on the ride, one on a horse I've ridden before who was in lead file, which was great and a smaller child on a smaller pony behind us.

It was a bit breezy but the weather conditions were much more pleasant than they had been on Thursday so I was happy. It was the farm hack for us yesterday which I always enjoy.

For most of the ride, I wasn't being lead and for parts of it was riding alone, listening to the sounds of the horse in front for guidance. Each time I ride, I am simply amazed of how much horses listen to us despite being the clever creatures that they are. My gentle, white friend was responsive to me and we had some great trots yesterday.

It was my usual instructor who took this ride yesterday and it was really well done. All riders there, had different levels of experience and she challenged those of us with a bit more experience. I like the challenges.

We had the big field to canter on yesterday which was fantastic. I'm still being lead at the moment in canter so my leader joined me and we soon realised my left stirrup needed adjusting as that foot would not stay in. Once adjusted, we were pretty good to go.

My instructor said it was good for her to see me ride without leading me in canter as it gave her the opportunity to correct things I was doing that she wouldn't see as she was running alongside. So I had a few corrections, which is good, I can work with the things I'm doing wrong when I know exactly what they are.

Apparently, I was touching my horse's side to ask him to canter but not actually giving him the clear signal to do so. So extra big squeezes next time. I did pull back once on my second attempt but we had about six goes yesterday, as we went on the field twice and my last four were all pretty decent. My position is apparently very good, although on the third and fourth, my legs were coming too far forward and on all of my canters yesterday, I was not in my seat as much as I have been on previous occasions. but strangely enough, I feel like despite the seat issue, I'm becoming increasingly confident and with more practice, and now I'm grasping the whole, go into canter business, as opposed to just forward trotting, I think it will just all one day click and I'll look back at these blogs and think, what the heck was I doing?

I was totally caught out yesterday as I was asked to trot and off we went in a lovely trot after a good canter and I heard, "Stop!". I stopped him and looked around at my instructor to see what had happened and she laughed and said, how she was just testing me and to trot again. Then, after only a few strides, I got another "stop", so we stopped and she praised my transitions, saying how they were the best I'd done yet. We were then permitted to do a final good trot. As I trotted on the last stretch, I was alone, just horse and rider. The lead file horse was off in front and my instructor had gone back to work with the pony and child. Trotting and then walking along that path made me feel proud. I know some things I may say here may sound trivial to some readers. Well, big deal, right? I was riding without someone there for a few moments. But when you've been constantly told you cannot do something and have to have sighted help continuously, even those few moments of trust, belief from someone else in your ability and independence can make you feel so big. I'm imprisoned by my eyes for the majority of my daily life. Sure, I can walk out and about with Bailey, I can cook and clean and wash clothes, I can use a computer but I've fought and keep fighting to work in any job and am constantly told I'm a health and safety hazard, ETC; so it is finally nice to have a few moments, even if they are only a few, where I can think, yes, I'm in control, i'm free, sitting astride such a magnificent creature and we are working together and people are not afraid that my blindness will hinder my ability to ride a horse. I'm going off of topic slightly here I guess, but I think some of you may already understand this and that's great, but I started this blog to also educate people of what is possible. I'm not saying, i'll be able to go on a 2KM ride independently, ever, but to know that group hacking is remotely possible is astounding to me.

But I guess the biggest thing here for me is that the lady who runs the riding school and the instructor especially who takes me regularly, along with a few others, have faith in that I can do more than what others maybe consider is possible. The single file hacking, I never even had that in my head but that's happening now. I'm doing that whenever there is other horses out on rides. Things I didn't think possible are happening slowly but surely in regards to horse riding and I'm loving each challenge as it presents itself. :)

Back to the lesson and apologies for the diversion.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. We got back to the yard, I untacked and then I got harassed for polos. So he had some polos and I'd brought some treats for the horses, some apples so I distributed them amongst some of the horses and it was over for another day.

It was a pretty fantastic lesson and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As always,

Thanks for Reading and keep tuned for more crazy, horse related tales.



  1. I used to teach a guy who had cystic fibrosis. He had been in a wheelchair all his life and he helped me to begin to understand what horses can do for people.

    It was the first time he'd ever been eye to eye with anyone - sometimes even looking down on someone. That was a huge event in his life.

    Reading about you riding off on your own brings a lump to my throat because I can feel what a huge thing that is for you. That's where you prove you have total trust in your horse to take care of you. More riders should think like you.

    Thanks for the inspiration :)


  2. A totally fascinating blog. We would love to feature this on Haynet a new Equine Blogging Network. Come over and sign up at http://hay-net.co.uk/ and then we can link to this blog for you.