Facing my fear of horses – polework and kicking on

Derry and me 5th lesson.jpg

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.

Well we’re on to horse riding lesson number five. This one was just half an hour's lesson as my riding buddy Bonnie Barrass was poorly, but she will be back in the saddle once she’s all better. So, as to not tire the horse out, you just have just half an hour session on your own.

Derry was in his stable munching away on hay, but as soon as I went to the stable door he came over. I reckon by this point he’s getting to know me.

I was chatting away to him as we walked to the arena. I pretended he was my dog, you know as you do, just chatting away about something and nothing and then he will get used to my voice and remember me – that's my plan anyway.

In the arena we did all the checks I needed to do and was asked to bring him to the mounting block so I could get on him.

The instructor was well ahead of me because Derry decided he was going to have a laugh. He stopped dead and just looked at me, looked down at the floor then back at me, refusing to move forward. I know he was thinking ‘hey scouse bird, let’s see how you deal with this then’.

No amount of coaxing would bring him forward. I called him to me, pulled firmly, got right next to him and tried to sort of shove him, but he wasn't moving.

Of course as soon as the instructor moved towards him he scurried along.

We did some polework in the lesson, it felt a bit odd being there without my riding buddy but on we soldiered doing lots of stirrup work, lots of leg lengthening and stretching.

We had a good half hour standing up in the stirrups as we went over poles on the floor, did a bit more trotting, practice practice practice, and – at last – the penny sort of dropped with the action of 'kicking' him to get him to trot.

I am always frightened of ‘kicking’ him too hard and that I might hurt him, though I know they are used to it.

It only felt like I was on him for five minutes and before I knew it the full half hour was up.

A further development for me was that I walked Derry back to the stables all by myself. I couldn't have done that four weeks ago.

I was feeling mentally and physically absolutely worn out post-lesson, after standing up and sitting down repeatedly, pulling the core in, multi-tasking and thinking lots. But hey, I will be fit as a fiddle in no time if I keep this up!

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