Thursday, August 21, 2008

Riding lesson

Yesterday I went to the stables for a riding lesson. Yeah yeah, I know this is supposed to be a blog about dogs, but it doesn't hurt to talk about other stuff once in a while, right? Anyway, it's still animal related!

So, as I was saying, yesterday I had my riding lesson. (You know, like horseback riding). I've been riding for two years now. I love it! I ride English (that's what's in the Olympics -- Show Jumping, dressage, etc.) but I have ridden Western a few times. I don't have my own horse, but I wish I did!

I also compete at the schooling shows that the stables holds. I've been to two so far, and out next one is in September.

I arrived at the stables and found out that I was riding Nick. He's a bright bay gelding who's very well behaved, and good to ride. He's a bit tough to jump because he's got a weird jumping style that's kinda hard to flow with, but he's fun!

So I checked his hooves, combed his mane, and brushed him until his coat shone. Then I put his saddle and bridle on and we were ready to ride!

The lesson was a semi-private -- two people riding, including me. I headed over to one of the rings where the other person was already warming up, and mounted Nick. I let him walk around the ring on a long rein so that he could warm up his muscles gradually. When it was time to head into the indoor arena (it was 8:30, getting dark), I let him warm up some more.

The instructor (who's awesome by the way!) set up two jumps -- a 1 foot high X (two poles crossed as an "X") and one 2 foot high rail. They were spaced so that the horses would jump the first jump, take one stride at a canter, and take the next jump.

We started off by just trotting and cantering around the ring in both directions before going over the jumps. The jumps were placed so that we had to make a tight turn at the corner of the arena to go over them safely. We nailed 'em. :) We took turns going over them in both directions for the first twenty minutes of the lesson, and then the instructor changed the X to an 18" vertical.

We did the same exercise, both ways, a few times. The only thing that I was having trouble with was getting a good mane release (bringing my hands and reins halfway up his neck) over the 2 foot jump, but by the end of the lesson I had improved! and the exercise wasn't hard, the point of the exercise was the brush up the technicalities and small details. I loved it! Nick was going great and was eager to jump, too!

It was a really fun lesson!!

We cooled down the horses by letting them walk around the arena on a long rein so they could stretch their necks, and then we dismounted and brought them back in the barn to untack and groom them.

After we'd finished that, we grabbed two lead ropes and turned the horses out in one of the paddocks so they could eat grass and relax in the big field all night. It's the favourite part of their day!

I finished cleaning the tack so that it would stay clean and fresh (it is leather, after all) and my mom and got in the car and left.

SO...that's my typical riding lesson! I love riding. It's a nice break from regular routines, and flying over a jump with a horse is a wonderful feeling that is impossible to describe. It's just amazing!


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