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, 18 March 2012

Worth Getting Up For

Around six months ago, I rode out with another rider without an instructor on the ground or anyone leading me. The idea was to follow the hoof sounds of the horse in front. At the time, I had stipulated to ride on the farm hack as it would mean less contact with roads. Today was a completely different story. I'd woken up feeling pretty rotten and was debating weather to even ride at all. When I went outside, the sun was shining and so I decided a ride was just what I'd need to make me feel better. How much truth would be in that thought, I could never have guessed. When I arrived, we had some of the younger riders choosing which horse I was going to ride. It was a toss up between Shadow and Topaz and Topaz won the vote. Then my usual instructor said to hang on a moment, she had an idea. She went to ask our school owner I guess and came back to say, I could either ride Topaz or go out on a ride with her and I would ride Bella so I didn't need anyone on the ground. I opted to ride Bella and go out on a ride with her. I have a lot of respect for this instructor and I've seen her ride once but never actually been on a ride with her. This meant, she rode Shadow, I was behind her, following with Bella and one of the other girls who helps out was behind us on a smaller pony. Instead of feeling fearful of the road route, I truly didn't mind which one we took today and as it happened, the road route was what we opted for. I actually felt confident, riding behind her, chatting away in walk and a part of me exploded with happiness that the trust I have with them and with the horses has got me to this point. I told her today that I never thought this possible but now I feel it is much more so. Even when cars are coming up, my hearing allows me to ensure the horse is far enough away. I'd never lead in a hack alone but following a horse with good sounding hooves is a definite prospect. As she'd informed me, I wouldn't be getting out of doing diagonals today and true to her word, on the first trot, she had me on my left diagonal. Throughout my trots today, I was concentrating on which diagonal I was on. I found it pretty easy to feel the difference in Bella's trot. We attempted a canter, following my instructor on Shadow but didn't get one. If you remember me telling you, Bella is probably the most difficult of our horses to get into canter. I've seen very experienced riders struggle with her. So I'm not disappointed when I don't get one from her. It has been my ambition to get a canter out of her. On our first attempt, she was almost there. On our third, as the second was as unsuccessful, my instructor said as well as seat and leg, be vocal with her. I often vocalise what I'm asking of the horses anyway but she wanted me to really be stern with my voice with her and I was astounded when after a few trotting strides and a big, "Huh!" from me we went into a three or four stride canter. She's a very smooth gaited horse and her canter is beautiful! I was pleased as punch, let me tell you. More walking and trotting on some busier roads and yet I still felt confident, following my instructor. On the back lane, I tried for another canter but she was just giving me a fast trot. My instructor did comment on how well I'd done and so I feel I leapt a few more steps forward today. I'm enjoying learning the diagonals and I especially enjoyed riding out with the person who has got me so far in my riding journey. :) Until next time, Marie


  1. I'm amazed at how quickly you've picked up the diagonals - congratulations! Some riders never get the feel for it. Bella may not be easy to canter but she obviously has the perfect trot for you to feel each stride. Can't have it all :)

    Can you imagine if someone had told you a year ago you'd be hacking out on your own with your instructor? And shouting "Huh!" to make her canter?! Talk about progress. I'm dead chuffed for you :) Lorraine

  2. Thanks Alison.
    Lorraine, if someone had told me last week about riding out with my instructor without anyone leading or on the ground and getting Miss Bella into a small canter, I would have never believed them. I've been sorta feeling the diagonals for a while without knowing it. sometimes I'd rise and think, this is less comfortable but just thought it was me on an off day. I'm so excited. Just can't believe these wonderful people have so much confidence in me. I know they didn't know how far they could take me and yet we just keep on going. Thank you so much, your encouragement has always helped me to :)

  3. I have a feeling we're all as excited as each other! It's a great journey you're on right now - even the downs are worth having - it makes these ups a whole lot more exciting :)