Facing my fear of horses – the first riding lesson...almost

Picture1 copy.png

Hello and welcome to Horse Tails From Wales! If you’re reading this you’re coming along with me on my new adventure, a little late on in life, of learning to ride a horse.

Well, the plan was to have one lesson on a horse – really just the one, but somehow I found myself booking for lesson number two and then lesson number three.

Now here I was having my first ever riding lesson at Anglesey Riding Centre just weeks before my 56th birthday, all done in order to conquer my fear of horses. 

I decided to go for it as recent events in my life made me think twice about things – such as people you care about suddenly not being there. It was at this point I thought, you only have one life, no practice runs – go and do something you are scared of. It was either heights or horses, so I chose horses.

I talked myself into having one lesson and that would be me finished with horses for good, or so I thought. 

Moral support

I got my friend Bonnie involved by accident really, I was rushing in to the local supermarket and she was coming out, we exchanged quick pleasantries as you do when in a hurry and I blurted out in an anxious manner that I was about to book a horse riding lesson. Bonnie had had lessons before and asked if I wanted company, so for added support I booked the lesson for us both.

We arrived in plenty of time on Saturday, 7 November and with John at the office we filled in the forms, listened to our safety advice around the horses and the riding centre and had our lovely burgundy coloured riding hats fitted. With that we were all ready to go. 

We were instructed to go over to the very large whiteboard to find out which horses we were on and who our instructor would be. 

This turned out to be Roz – poor Roz, she had no idea what was about to come through the riding school doors. As for my horse, well that would be Derry for the hour, and Bonnie was on Thunder. 

My stomach was doing butterflies. There were a lot of horses – all around me in the yard being led to the mounting block, and more in the stables too. All I could think was ‘oh my word what am I doing here?’ 

My heart rate was going nineteen to the dozen, and my anxiety level was rising and rising. I started talking to Bonnie non-stop about a load of rubbish, she just listened and nodded in all the right places. 

‘Let’s go and find our horses,’ says Bonnie – ‘Erm, I will just stand here if it’s OK with you,’ I reply. I had actually become frozen to the spot. 

Derry

Bonnie got me going again and we walked to some stables and found Derry, all ready and waiting for me. He looked so big. I liked the look of the ponies for the children more!  

Maybe I should have just gone to Blackpool and had a donkey ride instead.

Derry popped his head over the stable door to see what was going on, my first close up encounter with a horse for a long long time. And suddenly I didn’t know if riding was such a good idea after all.

Our names were called and the horses brought out of their stables, and it was at this point I decided I was going to cancel. I didn’t want my money refunded, I just wasn’t brave enough, I couldnt bring myself to even be near the horse. My legs were turning to jelly. 

…Come with me next time to see if I got on Derry!

Happy reading, happy riding, happy Horse Tails From Wales!

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here