Facing my fear of horses – "my first canter felt like I was flying"

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Welcome one and all as I continue on my new adventure of learning to ride a horse for the first time ever, just weeks before my 56th birthday.

Yay its horse riding time so its another 'Horse Tails From Wales’. It’s week 10 of my riding adventure and my riding pal and myself were having a good old natter on the way to our lesson.

We were chatting away about the rising trot, how we do it and how it feels and we talked about the cantering that my friend so loves to do.

We arrived nice and early as we always do and it was pouring down with rain, so we decided to mingle a bit and feed the horses a little treat – then it was our turn to have our lesson.

We went in and practiced what had done the week before, rising trot for me and cantering for Bonnie – she looks great going around the arena at speed. Then Rachel the instructor says, ''Right Jan you are going to have a go now at cantering.''

Well I went as white as a sheet so I am told. I hesitated a bit because I thought she was kidding at first, then felt sick, then looked at Rachel again and I just knew that she wasn’t kidding. Gulp.

She gave me instructions of what to do, how to sit, where to hold my hands, where to put my heels etc – and so off me and Derry the horse went.

“Did we do it?" I ask – both humans laugh and say no. Turns out we just went in to a faster trot. So we tried again, listening to the instruction from Rachel. But no, just another fast trot. "You’ll know when you’ve done it," says Rachel.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t seem to crack it. Just as we were about to come to the end of our lesson Rachel asks if I want to give it one more go. I did.

"Come on Derry let’s do it this time," I say to the horse and off we went and into the trot, then finally into canter.

I really knew it had happened, it felt like I was like flying. I didn’t know how I’d done it but it was an amazing feeling. You really can’t describe it to someone who hasn’t done it.

We only cantered for a matter of seconds, but wow I was so happy and pleased at last I managed it. I couldn’t stop grinning and reliving it all the way home.

For those of you who are reading this and thinking of having horse riding lessons this should 'gee' you up!

Best week ever so far – I know I say that every week, but this really was the best. Onwards and upwards, we go, happy horse riding days, happy ‘Horse Tails From Wales’.

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