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.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Fresh Eyes

Today, I knew my usual instructor wasn't going to be there but one of the girls who has worked with me in the past took our ride out which was good. The really useful thing for me was the fact she hadn't seen me ride in around 4 or 5 months so it would be interesting to get her point of view on things. My instructor always says I'm far too harsh on myself and I know, being the perfectionist that I am, she's possibly right most of the time. I was given the chance to ride my tall, cheeky, bay friend today. I took that chance. That meant this weekend I'd ridden three rather different kinds of horses with all varying gaits. I guess in some way, this was my own test for myself. Shadow is probably the horse I've ridden the most. He's the one I expect to get the best out of myself on as I'm more familiar with him and have built up a strong bond with him over the time at our yard. I'm still amazed that yesterday, after so long out of Bella's saddle, that I managed to just fall back into her rhythm. And today, after not riding my lovely, cheeky, tall, bay friend, I relaxed into his saddle too and was able to quickly adapt myself and my aids to how we work together. I never thought I'd learn this adaptability and am glad even I'm noticing it but more so the girls who work with us. So, I walked into his stable, or should I say his new stable. He's been moved recently and was giving him a lovely stroke. Once mounted, we took the road route again. I can just imagine how boggy the field on the farm is and so was rather relieved by this. We were in lead today and I had a walker. I appreciated this as we were in front today. My trots on him were good, forward and consistent. It's one of the most natural feelings in the world to me now, rising trot. And then we went into a mini woodland and tried for a canter. I was asked if I wanted to canter on my own with him today but asked if I could have someone running with me as he and I are still building our relationship and trust. This was OK and the canter was beautiful! He has a slight bounce to his gait and yet I adore his canter as much as Shadow's. He has lovely, long strides, being part thoroughbred and covers a lot of ground but isn't exactly fast for the size of him. I kept my seat so well and I only just realised that I'm no longer comparing lengths of canters. I guess its because I no longer count the strides we do as there are so many. We left the woodland and had a few more trots. He was very well behaved for me and the young lady walking with us was good with direction. On the back lane, we did another fabulous canter. I was so happy which was only made happier when the girl taking our ride said that she was really impressed on my progress. I can vividly remember her helping me with canters during the summer months and for what she said next, I was so pleased. She said that my seat was very neat and it looked good. That meant more than I think she knew as only several weeks ago, I thought I was horrible and couldn't ever progress past this point. Being in the saddle for me now feels like something I've done for ever. Like, every time I mount a horse and walk/trot/canter, I feel in control, stable and able to achieve. Even on the days I don't get quite what I was aiming for, it's OK because in the past two years, I've achieved more on and around horses than I ever thought possible. I never, in a million years thought I would be able to canter. But now, I'm getting told good things about it and I'm feeling good doing it. Relaxing really helps! And who knows where this journey will head next? But you can be rest assured, I'll always try something new. Once our ride was over, I lead my lovely friend to his stable, untacked him and put on his rug. The young lady who had walked with me commented on that too which made me smile. I've never wanted to be one of those people who shows up for a ride and doesn't help to tack up, untack, brush or take care of the horse and now I'm not. I do, where I can help out and will continue to learn in that department too. But before I leave you all for another week, I'll leave you with this, a beautiful photo of my tall, cheeky bay friend,. So Meet Topaz! Topaz in his stable Isn't he just gorgeous? He actually belongs to our school owner, as in, he's her baby. So you can imagine how scared I was the first time riding him. But he's a pleasure to know and he's a tall boy compared to our other school ponies. :) Until next time, Thanks, Marie

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