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.
Saturday, 21 January 2012
You Left Me
Today was a good ride overall. It was hard, but it was rewarding in so many ways. My tall white friend was my chosen horse today and I helped brush and tack him up. Not sure why the white horses seem to attract the most mud. I suspect they have magnets in their fur that attracts every ounce of mud or it could just be the fact he loves rolling in the stuff. So I mounted him, in the windy air and was definitely blinded in more than my usual way today. I always use my ears as they're my best sense but I did struggle a little today although my distance was never corrected so I must have managed it; and behind the smallest pony at the yard too. We walked up the farm hill and did a rather ploddy trot. I haven't ridden my tall white friend since possibly before Christmas. I seriously think I might have been getting a bit of punishment today as he was really testing me. On the field, we tried for a canter, with a girl running alongside us. It didn't happen but the field was mush and I didn't feel as confident giving the instruction on the first canter. Stayed nicely in the fast trot though which I'm finding is helping my seat. So, we did a few more trots and these were lovely and forward. It was nice being back on him. I'm so familiar with that fast trot. It was like coming home. He has a smooth but fast gait in trot and I really enjoy him in trot. The wind still howling, and him doing his usual toss of the head which pulls on your hands and such, [I did ask if it was something I was doing but apparently it wasn't me, he does that to everyone], and being very bossy with the legs, he kept trying to walk off while I was wanting him to stand but I did it. I need to remember to lean back more but it's not always that easy when a horse is yanking his head down and pulling my hands forward. If there's any tips to help me as a rider, remembering he's a school horse, please pass on the info. So we reached the back lane and I was told I should canter by myself, as this horse doesn't like a leader. So I leaned back, gave a big squeeze, trot, then another, still leaning back, canter. I was amazed. The whole not putting pressure thing on myself meant that I didn't expect to canter on him today as it'd been a while and my tall, cheeky, bay friend is lighter on the leg so he doesn't need as much. It wasn't huge but it was good and I felt confident, comfortable and relaxed! I've been thinking about how to get bigger squeezes too. I know someone suggested on a previous post about fitness. I use an exercise bike which has helped a little but I think someone said something about core fitness. Well, I did core stability at the blind college when I was studying my holistic massage therapy course and I don't mind telling you, I hated it. First of all, we had to do it on the gym floor, no mats and I always felt stressed and drained afterward. But when I was watching getting to Greenwich on Monday on Horse and Country, the dressage rider was saying she has Pilates twice a week to help with her core fitness. It's an exercise I've often considered but never undertook because of the incredible difficulty I find following most home DVDs and the lack of instruction at classes. However, this week I decided I'd buy a DVD, get mum to help show me the exercises and all that. Ordered a mat and some basic Pilates equipment like ball, bands, etc. Then I think I saw someone mention a Pilates book on here for equestrians. I usually read iBooks or listen to audio books so I looked on both just for Pilates books, not thinking I'd find any. Found a few and bought them and then out of curiosity searched "Pilates Equestrian" and found the book someone mentioned on here. Have bought that too and it says all about the seat and such from what I've read so far. So it'll help with my core stability and fitness that will only contribute to my riding and more importantly life. Longer post than I'd anticipated. so once my mat comes and I've read more of the book, I'll be hopefully starting properly Monday/Tuesday and lets give it until the end of February, and I'll review my progress in the saddle. ;)