My Friend

It is cold here. Readers in the States, those in the midwest and northeast, will laugh and laugh, but it’s 30 degrees Farenheit, and we are bitchin’.

Covert negotiations between the instructors allowed the adults to take the indoor, and why not? The children can take the weather, hardy little beings that they are… and besides, we were outside last week. Here’s hoping for a heat wave next Saturday.

Cold, but it was bright, and I’ll take a blue sky any day. Not that it would stop any of us from pitching up to the yard. When it rains, we’re all assured that we’re not made of sugar. There was no allusion made to what we could be comprised of in this freezing [for Ireland] weather; I suppose no one’s had to figure that one out.

We’re not made of… water?

Well, we are, mostly, so that doesn’t really work.

Anyway, we huddled around the clipboard as horses were allocated. Did I want Rebel? I’m used to him, sure, but I felt good today, good enough to try someone new. And I got Amigo.

Higher and narrower than Reb, sitting up there was a different experience, one I hadn’t had in a long time. I reckon it’s what you’re used to, as well. I organised my irons, and as the kids and ponies filed out, I sent Amigo into walk to get a feel…

And it felt weird! Whereas Rebel, with his short stride, is a swish-swish-swish, Amigo was a badum-badum-badum — bouncy. Uh oh. I don’t do bouncy too well. Or didn’t, in the past, remembering Charlie and Rinaldo. Okay. I called on my recent store of knowledge re: seat and legs, and sat in the middle of the saddle as exhorted by Barbara, and hugged my legs around his belly. I’d seen him go in Tuesday’s lesson, and had gotten feedback from other riders, and so I felt I knew what to expect.

Well, he’s bouncy. It took me a while to get the focus off of balancing on my hands, and once I got that going on, we were struggling less. He’s only a wee babby, five years old, and still a little drifty as regards direction. Excellent: an opportunity to work on directing with my legs. Plus, his ears were completely turned to me for almost the entire hour. This may have been a reaction to the slight nerves I always get, riding a new horse, but also, too, I think he just wanted to know I was there.

So I assured him occasionally throughout that he was great, and that we were doing great. And we did a good job. It does take some time to get used to a new mount, to know how much it takes to get him to go, to feel for the strides and the paces. His canter is absolutely gorgeous, and it is a revelation to actually ask for the transition and get it without having to resort to a resounding smack on the bum. Just lovely, like a rocking horse, and his ears went forward, confident in the flow of the gait.

We jumped as well, small fences, and I really felt like I got something back, something I’d lost in recent months, I got some feel back, and was able to forget about the stuff I’ve been trying to remember — hands forward, seat in the air, quick recovery — and just do it.

It was a fantastic hour, just going like the clappers, jumping as a ride and going going going.

After dismounting, I poured praise into his big, gray, floppy ears. His neck was extended, nose to the ground, and he turned his head to rub my hip. What a dote. I’ll ride him better next time, more relaxed, more accustomed, and I really can’t wait.

One Reply to “My Friend”

  1. Hi. It was minus 5c when I rocked up to the yard at 20.00 last night. Vin looked at me over his stable door with his ‘Are you absolutely mad?’ face. We schooled in the indoor for 40 minutes and I was back home by 21.15. Brilliant!

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