It seems autumn has already abandoned us and we're deepening into the iciness of winter. At least, that's how my hands felt today.
I arrived at the yard, having avoided any substantial downpours. That's a relief, listening to the rain pounding outside right now. I brushed the lovely coloured gelding I've ridden before and bridled him up while my instructor put his saddle on. She had also brushed his belly as he's not so fond of that being done. I learnt a little about some horse care tips this morning to.
The horse I rode today has recently been clipped, so I learnt never to pull of an entire rug at once when it's so cold. Just the first half while you brush the head, neck and front half, then remove the latter part of the rug to not make the cold such a shock. There were also exercise sheets on to keep him warm while we went out.
After mounting, adjusting the stirrups as I'm not familiar with what my stirrups are on him, we opted for the road route. The field would have been complete mud because of the amount of rain and I hoped to get some canters in.
Getting this lovely coloured forward was a little bit of a challenge and he lays quite heavy in your hands so this was a new adjustment for me. The other two horses I regularly ride don't lean on your hands so it's slightly easier but this was just something new for me to handle well. I quickly felt the contact and soon it felt like a strong piece of elastic was attached to my hands.
Trotting took a while to get into a forward trot but eventually I managed this.
And then for the canters. I'm noticing, more and more how relaxed my body is when asking for canter and today was no exception. My only criticism of myself was I was not keeping my hands low and forward enough for him to spring into a nice forward canter on the first attempt. Having the difference in rein contact is an adjustment and one that took me a while to get used to but two strides on the first canter and four on the last was not bad going, in my opinion.
I learnt a lot about energy this morning and how to recognise it. When halted, the fidgeting of your horse shows you there's momentum to build on and controlling that energy is something I'm learning to master.
I can clearly get the horses into a canter, now, I just need to work on keeping them there. I was pleased with this little progress. I haven't ridden this lovely horse in a long while so being able to feel relaxed, controlled and keeping my position showed some progress. So more work with the legs and seat to keep that cantering going. I know I'll get there.
A few other interesting differences that I have learnt today. These things have just added to my knowledge of the fact that all horses are individuals and different. When asking for a turn, my lovely friend didn't respond as my bay beauty or tall white friend readily do so I had to pick up the reins a little to turn. I also learnt, trying to give the command to turn or move over on the shoulder can also be effective.
Trot transitions were attempted to today and although he is harder to stop, I managed it which pleased me.
Horse riding is about learning the skills to handle all horses on which you may ride. And that was proven true to me today.
We also had a stop for a wee so up I went to keep the pressure off of his kidneys. I asked how you can tell if a horse wants a wee so I would know when I should stand. Sometimes, they push their legs back but she assured me, as soon as I heard a trickle from a horse, standing up would be fine if I couldn't tell as some horses it is hard to tell. If anyone has any other cool tricks to know when that could be distinguished by a blind rider, I'm welcome for all options.
It was a productive lesson today and I look forward to Thursday's. I've only just got the feeling back in my hands though so definitely, if the weather has not improved, my riding gloves shall be firmly enclosed on my hands.
Until next time,
Thanks for Reading,