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Our first time in a field...

ex-racehorse cantering in the fields at Pippsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington Somerset near Devon

Today was the day where every single thing I have learned at Pippsway thus far came into alignment and Bronson and I shared the most wonderful experience!

I arrived at the yard and was pleasantly surprised to see there were four of the other girls there; they are such a great bunch it's always a pleasure. As there were a fair few of us, and the weather has meant that the ground was good, Pip said we could use the empty grazing field for lungeing or riding as well as the ménage. I've never ridden Bronson in a field before!

I rode up to the field with complete confidence that we would be ok despite the fact that Bronson is an ex-racehorse, I'd never ridden him in a field before and I had heard dubious reports from his previous owner about his penchant for bucking in open fields! I knew that if Pip thought I wasn't capable she wouldn't have said I could and I also knew I had set us up for success. From the moment I went to bring Bronson in from his field, lead, groomed, tacked up and mounted him I knew that every time he had asked the question ‘are you in charge’ I had given the right answer.

The field undulates so I had to to work within what I could manage with my present level of balance. I’d shortened my stirrups so I wouldn't bounce on his back, made sure my elbows weren't sticking out (I had caught myself doing this on my GoPro footage previously….), engaged my core, made sure my legs were relaxed and off we went! We walked down the steepest inclines, trotted downhill and only cantered on the flat or uphill.

I made sure that every single step he took was in the direction and at the speed that I had asked for. I also made sure that on each circuit I trotted and cantered at different points so he was listening to me and not just doing a pattern. At one point he went a bit sideways and thought he'd like to canter so I just responded the way I had been taught in my last lesson along with a half halt and he acquiesced immediately. I rode with the same awareness and discipline I would have had I been in the ménage, more in fact as I was responsible for us and had to be aware of any rabbit holes etc.

When I was younger I thought schooling was boring and when hacking out I would have had a completely different attitude and way of going. Now I understand that when we ride properly we have the same level of connection and awareness regardless of what we are doing, before, during and after. From the moment we are in the presence of our horse until the moment we leave him. That everything we learn in the ménage applies whenever we are riding.

Today was so much fun and going up the slopes we really went for it! The sun was shining, the wind was in our hair and we were both loving it. Yet as soon as I asked him to slow down he did so straight away and followed my next instructions. He is my perfect horse!

It was simply the most fun! And all the while I felt confident and safe. These are just some of the gifts that Pippsway of Horsemanship brings.

Today's image shows Pip taking Bronson around the proper canter fields at Pippsway, this is what I aspire to!

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