Facing my fear of horses – 'is this your first time on a horse?'

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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.

Now where was I at the end of my last blog? Oh yes, of course, all dressed in the correct riding attire at Anglesey Riding Centre, lots of horses are ready and waiting, and my anxiety levels are going through the roof in anticipation of our names being called out.

My mouth is a bit dry, I am feeling terrified, petrified, my legs are like jelly. I am having second thoughts and the panic is rising inside of me.

Bonnie my friend and co-rider offers me words of encouragement but I take no notice, because I can’t even think straight. My name has been called. Oh my oh my, what the heck am I doing here I ask myself.

Up to the mounting block I go, the young lady holding Derry takes one look at me and asks ‘Is this your first time on a horse?’

So I babble away talking non stop with even more nervous energy, in my Liverpool accent that she probably couldn’t understand a word of anyway, but she smiles and asks ‘Ready? We are just going to walk over there’.

We move away and I am thinking ‘oh I don’t like this at all, what if this horse runs away with me, how do I stop it?’ I blurt out ‘ don’t let go of that rope’. The reply comes with an encouraging smile ‘ I won’t let go of this rope’.

We are welcomed into the schooling arena by the instructor and my positioning gives a lot away. My arms are outstretched in front of me and my knuckles are white – as is my face.

The instructor introduces herself as Roz and ask is this my first time on a horse too – something clearly is giving this away.

The lead rope swaps hands and I say to the instructor ‘don’t let go of that rope’ again – I say it several times during the lesson.

In the lesson itself we walk and walk and walk some more, then the instructor Roz says ‘ I would like you to stand up in the stirrups and no I won’t let go of the rope’. I did as I was told and was happy to sit back down again.

We walked and talked some more then Roz says ‘we are going to have a little trot and I won’t let go of the rope’.

Now hang on a cotton picking minute, I didn’t sign up for any trotting, I just want to walk – one lesson then I am off.

Well at that point I would rather just get off if the truth be told. Yet here I was preparing to trot.

‘I just want to see how your balance is’ says Roz. Now I know my balance is good because I used to go ice skating every week in my youth and loved it.

Back to the voice of Roz – I do exactly as she says. She is a school teacher in her day job so I am not messing with her in case she gives me detention and makes me do something else on Derry.

The lesson draws to a close and Roz says ‘hey you did really well, you have great balance and should give this another go’.

Err not likely, but I thank her anyway for the words of encouragement and her patience. Poor Roz, she certainly had drawn the short straw in having me as a pupil that day.

Lesson over, I am helped off Derry much quicker than it took me to get on him, and from a distance I thank the horse for not running away with me.

What a lovely well mannered and well behaved horse Derry was. 

Bonnie had a lovely time riding Thunder and once we had all of our feet firmly on the ground I am asked the question ‘shall we do it again?’

Now let me think about that one – ‘okay, yes’ I reply. Bonnie nearly fell over and marched me straight into the office to book another lesson before I changed my mind.

Well it wasn’t that bad a lesson and I did stay on didn’t I? Our next lesson is planned for a month’s time, if I don’t change my mind before the time arrives.

And I didn't as it happens. Come with me for lesson number two next time, and in the meantime, happy horse riding days, Happy Horse Tails From Wales!

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