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, 18 February 2012
Back in Rhythm
I didn't have the best ride last week due to those evil boots and the horrible ice. This week, the ice has gone so Jodhpur boots were able to be worn again. Hurray! My dad was being very kind this morning and gave me a lift to the yard. Well, not exactly the yard, he's precious about his car and dropped me at the bottom of the lane and I walked the rest of the way up. I was early and decided to ride Shadow today, AKA, my tall white friend. I hadn't had a great ride on him last Saturday and I felt I needed to get on him again so I could remember the last ride on him if I switched horses was a good one. He was very forward in walk and I just knew that the energy levels were good enough to have a really good ride. My first trot was amazing! My legs stayed in position and I was rising up through the thighs in a lovely, forward trot. Sometimes, he gets a little complacent in the way he'll stop because he thinks he's done what you've asked but I rarely needed to keep him going today. His trots were wonderful and I was in a good position on him on all of them. On the back lane, we attempted a canter but got a very forward trot instead. I didn't give enough to get him going. So my instructor yelled for me to come back and try again. He was being very awkward. He wanted to go with his friends and he kept trying to turn but my instructor firmly told me not to let him and I didn't. He lost the battle. So we tried again and I was on my own as we both agreed he's better in canter without a leader and I have enough control over him to be by myself. I gave the biggest squeeze and off we went. It was a beautiful and rhythmic canter. I was told I was very much in my seat and it looked great. This is a huge thing for me as you all know I was freaking out about not getting the canters a few months ago but here I am, able to say, especially on the horses I'm used to riding in canter, I feel more confident about getting them going. It's been a few weeks since we've actually done cantering so I was really pleased about this. My position is feeling more and more improved. Its like, I hardly have to think about sitting up and back and staying balanced, heels down and hands forward anymore. It's just happening. Guess muscle memory has a lot to do with it. As we were walking back to the yard, I asked if I could ride on another ride today. I'll still be going tomorrow and wanted to ride again as I'd missed a ride last week due to my scary boots situation. I decided to ride the bay beauty, AKA, Bella. Here's a photo. She's a sweet mare who I learnt to rise trot on and she's also a stubborn mare at times. I therefore, of course, love her to pieces. She was on rest for a while late last year and it's been a long while since I rode her so decided to take the opportunity to ride her today while I was on a high. We followed another horse on this ride but it was a smaller pony so in some places wasn't always easy to follow but as on the first ride, I didn't have a leader/walker today. She walked lovely. I had forgotten how slow she was in her gait. But the trotting, wow! That's all I can say! It was instant. I just rose and fell with her like I'd ridden her in the previous ride. For a long while, it had taken me a few trots to get into a new horse's rhythm or even a horse I hadn't ridden for a while. But there I was today, just feeling her rhythm and going with her in a lovely forward trot. She has a slower gait but her trots are so smooth. It was so lovely to be finally reunited with her. I realised today too, how far I've come since I last rode her. I'd never felt confident about getting a horse into canter when I'd last rode her but I am confident of trying now so I have definitely progressed as a rider. I think she sensed this too. We did try for a canter, I wasn't expecting one and I didn't quite get one. Because I've never actually cantered on Bella before, my instructor ran with me so she could take over if I couldn't keep control. It was the fastest trot this lovely mare has ever done and I felt on a few occasions, she was almost there. Even my instructor said that she was impressed that I'd almost got her there. I will happily tell you, the day I get Bella to canter for me, will probably be one of the happiest days in my riding journey so far. She's notorious for riders to get her to do something for them initially but once she knows you can get her to do it, she becomes easier. I did struggle on one trot during this ride. It was my second and it was all my fault. Who knows where my hands were going, I didn't know and neither did my poor horse. But every trot after that was amazing. We did take a little adventure. On the way back to the yard, I was still following the other horse but there was running water down the lane and I lost my hearing for a while. So Missy thought we'd go another way. She was definitely testing me on keeping her straight but it was good. I like being challenged and it just gives me another tool to add to my horse rider's kit to work with the horse. So, even though I've had two rides today, I'll be up tomorrow for a third so wish me luck. Thanks, Marie