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27 May 2013

I will ride horses

I remember watching a tennis match years ago, when a young Anna Kornikova had just won a match.  She was of course gorgeous looking, but perhaps lacked a killer instinct to go with the natural ability.  I remember her speech afterwards.  She said that she thought she had showed people today that she could play tennis, and then she said "and I WILL play tennis".  

My equivalent has been riding horses.  And for much of the past 15 odd years, that's been something I've struggled to keep up, particularly once the kids came along.  There were other factors involved, but horses, and riding, are just so important to me.  

I went ahead with my jumping lesson this morning.  The knee was absolutely fine.  And the lesson was great.  I rode a different horse, Snips, and it has to be said that this was a REAL horse, and I absolutely LOVED him.  Again, the difference between Freelance's canter and this horse's canter was profound, and reinforced the advice that my next horse, the gait I will be looking most closely at is the canter.  Because you can improve a trot through the right work, but improving the canter in a horse that naturally doesn't have a great canter is a far more difficult thing.  And riding a horse with a great canter is amazing.  Freelance always felt too much of a passing resemblance to a camel when she cantered.  She's always had a gorgeous, rhythmical and flowing trot.  The canter...  Well, it left a lot to be desired!

Grant pushed me harder this lesson, and I was going over about 5 different jumps.  Yes, I still wanted to say 'wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' when I went over them!  And I'm still out of practice, and I'm still far better on the right rein than I am on the left rein, but by the end of the lesson I was riding the left rein far better.  This horse was lovely and I've come away a very happy person. 

When I cooled Snips off, there was a woman, probably in her mid to late 20s, trying valiantly to ride another school horse.  She was trying hard, but inexperienced.  She wasn't helped by being quite overweight.  It has to be said that horse riding is like many physical activities, in that it doesn't easily lend itself to the overweight.  And it is harder for the rider, and for the horse, and it doesn't look nearly as elegant.  But I loved the way that this woman was just trying so hard.  And the instructor was encouraging.  I like to think that riding horses is something that she's wanted to do, and she's doing something for herself to help herself feel better.

But to quote Anna...   I can ride horses.   And I WILL ride horses...  There's no photos to post from today.  Sadly photographs of me riding are few and far between.  I hope one day that situation will change. These are the last ones, and they were taken at the end of July 2011 when I rode Fenella's horse Pirate.  Fenella hadn't had him long when I hoped on him.  He had no steering, you had to keep him on the circle by opening the inside rein right up.  She's done a lot with him since, and I'm going to hopefully jump on him one weekend soon...

And as a little bit of trivia, my little plant is STILL alive.....  And flourishing it would seem.

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