Managed to ride Max today, at the RDA. Went as I expected it to go, to be honest. The only things I do need to remember are to keep my heels down, as they tend to creep up, and also to shorten my reins every so often. The reins thing isn’t so easy when Max keeps pulling them through my fingers. One of the other volunteers gave me a pair of gloves though, so hopefully they’ll help.


Flying Along

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Motion.”

This was taken back in 2011 at the NAF International Hartpury Horse Trials. While I had caught a few riders either going over the fences or just about to jump, I really wanted to get a good photo of a horse and rider in motion. My camera is a Canon point and shoot type, and, as such, not particularly good at focusing on moving subjects.

With this photo, I found that if I focused on a spot just in front of the subject, and then pressed the button as soon as they came into the frame, I could get a fairly decent motion shot. I am in no way a professional photographer, but am fairly proud of how this one came out.


So as it turns out

I didn’t get to ride today. Max, who I normally ride, has a temperature, and isn’t being used at the moment. Plus, might lose my riding privileges anyway, since riders are being sought for the last lesson of the morning.

It’s a bit of a bummer, but can understand why it’s being implemented. Was looking forward to maybe getting to canter today, but hey, ho, life goes on!

Now looking for a proper riding school. Have already emailed one place, basically saying that I used to ride, but had a long break and now need to build my confidence and skills back up again.

Thing is there aren’t that many around my area that I can easily get to without driving. Car was totalled in a accident, and haven’t gotten round to even looking at a new one yet.

Still, the stables I emailed are fairly easy to get to, and I know where they’re situated. It’s just a matter of seeing if the manager gets back to me, and if/when they do, then I could arrange to go up and see what it’s like.

But still…if I can start riding regularly again, that would be brilliant. Would miss riding Max, but at least I’d have the foundations of riding that I could build on.

Adventures in canter?

Or maybe, anyway. On Thursday I mean. I volunteer at the RDA centre on Monday mornings, and all day Thursday. Thursday is when I ride.

Before Easter break, S (the woman who’d got me riding again) asked if I’d be ready to canter next time I rode, since I’m now trotting on Max quite happily. I said that I’d try a little one. And I’m perfectly willing to, having thought about it over Easter.

Thing is, though, is I’m not sure if I’ll be able to sit to Max’s trot in order to give him the signal to canter. I’ve tried sitting to it when making the transition down to walk, and it is very difficult. I tend to just bounce in the saddle, as Max’s trot is rather active! If I do ride him, then I’ll try my hardest, but might not be very successful.

Then again, I may not be riding Max. Might be riding one of the others. Probably not B, since I’ve heard that he tends to jump into canter, which might take me by surprise. S did speculate that maybe I should ride Dave, who is a very comfortable ride, apparently.

However, I do have a feeling that I will be riding Max again. If I do, then I’ll have to work out a way to sit in the saddle in order to transition to canter!

Bye hair!

Got myself a hair cut today. (Sorry, no photos, since I hate seeing myself in them).

My hair wasn’t all that long to start with, but my previous pixie cut was growing out and it was just starting to look shaggy and shapeless. Plus, if my hair gets longer than shoulder level, it tends to be limp and lifeless. Although there’s a lot of it, it’s actually quite fine.

So, anyway, it’s now nice and neat again, with short layers to add volume, and a side swept fringe. I’ve had various hair cuts throughout the years, and I do prefer my hair short! I’ve got a longish face, so medium or long hair just doesn’t suit me. Used to have bobs at one point or another through the school years, but in my early twenties, I decided the shorter, the better! On me, at least.

On the bobs…well, they never really suited me. At the time, I didn’t care, because I could just grow them out again. Looking back on them now though, I’m sure there were many instances of triangle hair! Do remember one bob, where the back was really short, and the front came about half way down my face. I looked awful.

Feel free to comment with your stories of good or not so good hair cuts!

Cobs are…

For those who aren’t horse people – Cobs are a type (not breed as such) of horse. They tend to be rather hairy. The exception to this is the Welsh cob, which is a breed.

Cobs are…slow, ploddy, not much good for anything except hacking around the countryside on. Or driving. Or that’s what a lot of people think. And, up until a point last year, so did I.

In all honesty, the only cobs I’d ridden before had been riding school ponies who were dead to the leg.  As far as I was concerned, all cobs were tarred with the same brush. I didn’t want something that was going to whizz off with me, but at the same time, I wanted to ride something a little more lively than a cob.

I rode well into my teens, then stopped, due to a combination of being unable to find a new riding school, and exams. After a while, the thought of riding again had faded from my mind. I spent the next  ten or so years not even considering about getting back in the saddle.

A chance encounter would change that.

I started college in my twenties. Did three weeks of work experience in the summer at the end of the first year, and two weeks work experience at the start of the second year.

Completed the three weeks at my local Riding for the Disabled Centre. The centre provides horse riding for children and adults with various mental and physical disabilities. Most of the ponies are cobs. The only two who aren’t are a little ratbag of a Sheltland x, with the other being either a Welsh or Fell pony.

I, along with other volunteers, had to bring the ponies in from the field in the morning, groom them tack them up and help the riders mount. It is hard, physical work, and you do need to be fairly fit. I loved it. It was a chance to be around horses again. Alright, I wasn’t riding, but didn’t really mind that.

After the three weeks were up, I decided to stay on. At times, it could be a bit overwhelming, but I coped. The thought of riding still didn’t occur to me, although I knew that volunteers could ride on occasion.

December 2014 rolled round. The first lesson of the day had been canceled, and I, along with other volunteers, were standing around talking when I got asked if I’d like to ride in the next lesson. In all honesty, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of being asked to ride. But, decided to grasp the bull by the horns and said yes.

The cob I rode in that lesson was B. As soon as I was mounted, and started walking round the school, I revised my opinion about all cobs being slow, ploddy and dead to the leg. B is very responsive to the rider’s leg aid. I only had to apply the lightest pressure with my legs, and he’d respond. While the other riders were mounting, I rode B round, getting used to his movement and getting him to listen to what I wanted him to do.

That first lesson wasn’t perfect. I had a few problems getting B to stop, though that was my fault, rather than his. No trotting, mainly because none of the other riders were up to it, and I didn’t want to.

As the weeks went on, I started building up more confidence. I managed a few trots on B. Then I moved on to a different pony, called Max. I’m still riding him. Only on Thursday mornings, and only during term times, but enjoy every minute.

And I’ve completely changed my outlook on cobs as well. Won’t be judging any breeds by how they look in future!

The sort of look that says…

“Get me out of here now. Or get that grey thing that makes funny noises out of my face.”

He really didn’t think much of being weighed!

A not very impressed guinea pig.

Not amused. Chutney is the other guinea pig.

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