Good morning to ya’ll. I’m excited to share with you a new hobby I’ve sort of taken up; riding horses during my lunch break.
It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but never felt comfortable asking. Our current stable master is the first I’ve seen that actually rides our horses. She’s also very approachable and has expressed that we (my colleague and I) riding the horses is a brilliant idea because they need to get used to it. Riding them will be a huge part of why anyone would want to adopt them.
So Last week I had a taste but the volunteer who ‘helped’ us (acted as if we were pests) wasn’t very friendly (she didn’t even look at me in the face, she just spoke to my colleague, I have no idea why) so I didn’t really feel comfortable. Being in such close proximity with these majestic creatures is quite intimidating and I’m also afraid of heights. I needed someone patient with me, to show me the ropes. Needless to say I didn’t really enjoy it that much.
Yesterday however was fantastic. I was introduced to Angie, a beautiful mare, who though was temperamental at first, was such a good girl. I’ve claimed her as my own.
Mounting her wasn’t very graceful as I’m a bit short and had to be hoisted up. My hat fell over my eyes while I hung over one side but I sat up as fast as I could. I was nervous at first, but our ‘instructor’ (I don’t know her name, she’s an intern Vet from Sweden), was friendly and Angie was so obedient that I was soon relaxed. I learnt that riding a horse was easier than driving a car.
This is what I picked up in my two sessions so far;
- its preferable to groom the horses before a ride so that their feet are free from stones and their backs are free from dust. That way when you saddle up and ride, the horse won’t be uncomfortable.
- When you’re standing next to her, hold the reins firmly near her chin so that she doesn’t pull you all over the place.
- To accelerate , you tap your ankles against her sides, like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz does with her shoes. I also made the click, click sound like cowboys do, just for good measure.
- Steering is obvious, you pull the reins left or right
- To stop you pull both reins equally back, not too hard of course.
While riding I had to make sure the reins were slack and my feet weren’t squeezing her because Angie doesn’t like tension. I suppose this applies for any horse. Your tension will make them nervous.
By the time our session was over I felt confident enough to ride her on my own, without anyone holding Angie in front as if I was a six year old at a party. On our way back to the stables some other (breathtakingly gorgeous) horses came over to us, threatening to interfere. Our instructor ushered them away and I led Angie back to the stables on my own. I felt so proud and so excited. I’m definitely hooked. I would love to learn more so that I can groom and saddle up on my own someday.
My colleague, who’s a seasoned rider, mentioned how sore ones inner thighs are the next day because you lift yourself up while riding at a faster pace to prevent your bum from banging the saddle. I didn’t go fast yesterday except for a few meters when I felt brave but today my inner thighs feel like I did squats. It’s a good thing, it means I’m getting more exercise then I would have if I just sat on a bench watching. Our stable master was happy we had fun. She encouraged us to come regularly and that’s what I intend to do.