Back in the saddle..
Well today was a big day for me! Back in the saddle for the first time in a couple of months as I’d gone over my maximum riding weight. I’m rather embarrassed that it’s taken me that long to get it off and keep it off, but instead of following some faddy diet that won’t last, I’ve formed new eating habits that are here to stay and now am well on my way to my goal weight, hurrah! Anyway, my delight at seeing the magic number on the scales could be heard by my neighbours and I immediately booked a lesson with Pip. Only fair to Bronson to have her watchful eye on us after such a long break.
I had written a blog post recently about how even a made horse won’t stay that way if we aren’t doing all the right things and the sentence “every moment I am in my horses presence we are having a conversation and there are only two ways that conversation can go, either I’m my horses leader and he can trust me, or I’m not and he can’t….” stood me in very good stead today. It was ringing in my ears as I groomed Bronson and tacked him up and the result was a very happy, relaxed horse and a very happy me! In fact I’m going to write that down somewhere I can see it every time I come to the yard.
Pip said we could go up to the menage and make a start, she would join us shortly. Bronson stood beautifully whilst I mounted and adjusted my girth and then we set off. My goodness there is so much to think about when you’re riding isn’t there? Posture, direction, pace, feet, elbows, hands, keeping my mouth shut (I always seem to have my mouth agape when I’m riding and am keen to remedy this!) and so on. Pip has taught me to have my hands as if each rein I am holding is but a thread and as if I am cupping two butterflies in my hands. It took longer than it should have for me to apply that, and immediately that I did Bronson relaxed. That said, things still didn’t feel right and after a few circuits of the menage they weren’t much improving. My first mistake had been thinking I could pick up where I left off. My stirrups were far too long and I was rather all over the place. Pip’s menage is deliberately undulating so you are constantly having to adjust your balance. This is utterly brilliant as it sets you and your horse up so well for riding in the real world and I would now find riding in a a flat menage strange and rather boring! But after my two months off and my too long stirrups I momentarily lost my balance and made these involuntary “whoop, whoop” sounds which Bronson didn’t much appreciate (fair enough) and for a moment I wondered if we were about to part company! It all seemed to happen in slow motion, I realised what I was doing, shut my mouth, grabbed hold of my saddle and relaxed, both to reassure Bronson and to get deeper into the saddle. I managed to regain my balance and asked him to halt which he did. “The first thing you need to do is shorten your stirrups at least two holes” Pip said as she arrived.
After adjusting my stirrups, things went far better and Pip was pleased with my efforts. Bronson has come on so much over the last couple of months with Pip freeschooling him and riding him in the canter fields and I was reaping all the benefits. As soon as I was asking correctly he was responding beautifully and he was so patient whilst I was getting it wrong!
After half an hour we called it a day, as I was starting to get tired and Pip wanted us to end on a positive note. Also, half an hour of me riding him is quite enough for Bronson to have to tolerate! I’m stunned at how much balance I’ve lost over the couple of months that I haven’t ridden. But I’m back on board and we’re off to a good start. I can’t wait for tomorrow so we can do it all again. But without the wobbly bit!