Saturday, 28 February 2009


Heh, okay, horses, not ponies. Poppy is way too tall to be a pony. And so are Winston, and Jake. And Barney. Just.

Today was my riding lesson, the first after the half term break, so the first for 2 weeks. Yay!

All last term I'd turn up for my lesson not knowing who I'd be riding. Apart from one lesson on Barney.

Barney is my angel. I love him to bits. He's a 14.3 black cob, I think Welsh Sec D cross. He's really forward but very responsive, so you don't have to worry about him taking off. I was riding him regularly for a term before the summer last year, then at the first lesson back in September after the summer break, I had a (somewhat) serious accident off him. Not his fault, saddle slipped when cantering and nothing I could do to stay on. Hit the floor followed by the wall and was very greatful for my helmet. Badly strained my rotator cuff and basically couldn't move my right arm for most of the week.

My instructor wouldn't let me get back on in that saddle cause it was new, and not the one I was used to riding, so I rode a different horse for the rest of that lesson (I was in shock, had no idea my arm was so bad, pain was dulled 'til the adrenilin wore off), that horse was Jake, who I'd ridden lots before and get on well with. Worried that I was going to panic or get too wound up riding Barney again so soon, I was on Jake for the rest of the term. Wasn't needed, it's the only bad fall where I've gotten up and not cared been anxious the next lesson, cause it was pure bad luck about the saddle, I wasn't thrown, I fell. Anyway, I was then riding Marge for a while, who is a nice enough horse, but I don't get on with her very well at all.

So when the first lesson back after Christmas on Marge went badly, my instructor finally put me back on Barney. Wow I'd missed him!! He really is a sweetie and just want's to please. Now in theory that should be it, he should be my regular ride and I'd have ridden him weekly since. But no, I don't have that kind of luck. He went seriously lame and has been off for weeks. So I rode Winston (a total gentleman, very sweet horse) a couple times and Jake too last term.

Today I once again turned up not knowing who I'd be on, cause I knew no matter what, Barney wouldn't be in full work again yet (he is, however, being brought back in to work, which is really great news). And when one of the volunteers read the list of horses for me, so I could maybe know who I was on, I knew I'd be on Poppy. She's not a mare I've ridden before, but I have seen her work a couple times, and I know from those times that she's quick. She's a thinker and she likes to go fast. She's a very, very pretty 16hh TB x Shire. With TB blood, it's not surprising she's fizzy really!!

Anyway, I was warned before hand about her being fizzy (and her being in season which was only going to make her worse) and to be firm with her when (yes when, not if) she started trying to get too fast. I don't often get on well with fast and pully horses. I'm happy with plodders who need lots of work to go forward. It's what I'm used to, and it's what I get on best with. I'm good at making those horses wake up and work. Strong horses I'm not so good with. So I admit I got on with a little nervousness, which probably didn't help matters. But Poppy isn't like any horse I've ridden before really. Yes she's quick, yes she likes to get round to the back of the ride in record time, yes she jogs instead of walking when you don't let her trot. But, she does have breaks. They take some working, she's not an easy horse. But I felt safe on her. I could pull her back, I could turn her the opposite way to where she wanted to go, and I could settle her down. Eventually.

So that's my new regular ride, until Barney is back in full work (I hope). But I'm really, really looking forward to the challenge. Poppy is a really sweet, fun horse. She's bright but she's not spooky, just fizzy. And I know now that I can hold her, I just need to find the right buttons to push at the right times.

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