Take Back the Reins – A Personal Story!

Well, it’s been a while – 27 years to be precise since I had my last formal riding lesson.  If I really think about it, I’ve had less contact with horses, since then, than I want to admit, maybe riding once or twice a year over the last 10 years!  I guess those formative lessons have taught me a thing or too (well that’s what I’d like to believe although I can’t quite remember what) though I can hack out and enjoy a steady canter ( as long as it’s not for too long!).  Do my body and mind subconsciously remember the set up or is it my powers of self preservation that help me cling on when a frantic pheasant pops out from under a hedge!

Now the opportunity arises when I can ‘Take Back the Reins’.  All manner of possibilities run through my mind about where my new found abilities will lead me!  For me, there has always been something compelling about horses and that connection has grown as I’ve got older.  Currently feeling like a ‘hired help and personal slave’ to my 2 young children, I feel I’m breaking free a little to indulge in some ‘me’ time and a passion of my own.

The 6 week course run regularly at Country Treks in Stottesdon, South Shropshire, starts on a beautiful Autumninal morning.  Steph (owner of Country Treks) meets and greets myself and 3 other ladies. The reasons for their participation are different.  One lady would like to develop her leg strength & posture for a New Years skiing trip. All 3 of them have children who ride regularly at Country Treks.  One ladies husband did the same course a few months ago and loved it so much he now rides regularly and is even thinking about buying his own horse!  His passion has spurred his wife on to have a go too, so they can ride out together as a family.

We get matched with our horses (I use the word match loosely but like to think that this is what has happened or maybe I just got lucky!) I get to ride a beautiful 16 hand ‘orange’ horse called Foxy Lady.  I think the technical term for her colouring is chestnut.

Steph assesses our ability in the arena and gives us riding aids and pointers to work on in trot. Mine, similar to the other participants because we are all about the same ability, relate mainly to posture, hand positioning, eye line (i.e. looking where you are going and where you ultimately want to direct your horse) and tension on the reins. This may not sound like a lot to an experienced rider but for a novice it’s a lot to think about all at the same time. When it did come together, albeit for a few strides, it felt GOOD!

Steph’s aim is to build our confidence, improve our technique and help us feel at one with our new horsey friends.

I’m already looking forward to my next lesson!

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