Along For The Ride – Being Braver

On paper yesterday was just another day.  I missed Monday’s ride due to adult commitments (!) so I decided to try to sneak one in on a Thursday.

I swung by the yard after work to get Pea in, then went tutoring and came back an hour and a half later to ride.  It was dark, freezing (literally), I was still mostly in my work clothes and Pea was positively wild.  She hadn’t eaten any of her hay, she had trampled poo everywhere and was circling and stamping around like a bull.

At this point, I could have easily given up on the whole idea of riding and turned her out.  Although I didn’t really want to turn her out either as I knew I would have to go through the shire gelding’s paddock (who has been on box rest for months) and I was worried I might end up panicking and ending up in the mud.

I didn’t give up on the idea.  I gentled the wild beast with the support of some carrot stretches, tacked her up and attempted to face the next hurdle.  When Pea is in a mood she is not a fan of standing still at the mounting block – not great when you’ve got a higher risk of hip dislocation than your average person.  Luckily, she was hoof perfect.

We then got in the school where there were some dodgy distance trotting poles across the track at B – potentially problematic however I decided to use the obstacle to our advantage and practise some five metre loops.  Bend and suppleness are what we need to work on so along with that we did lots of circles and figures of eight.

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Pea actually felt amazing.  Maybe it was because I couldn’t see what we really looked like or because I was expecting lots of tension but reminded myself to chill.  I wasn’t the only thing chilling, by the end of our schooling the arena was starting to feel a bit crunchy and I could see the puddles on the yard were already icing over.  My fingers had that burning cold feel and our cool down was more of a freeze down.

When I clicked finish on equilab (the riding tracking app I have recently been using and loving) I realised I had managed nearly 40 minutes of riding without any real struggle with pain (only in my cold fingers). I then had to cope with the sweaty hairy situation that was Pea – she had worked hard!  She had a boxer style rub down with a towel and then I did her stretches again.

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I was torn between sticking her cooler on and leaving her in or accepting that I had done the best drying I could, chucking her turn out on and turning her out.  The decision was essentially having a grumpy pony all night vs getting past the shire.

I am proud to say I opted for the later!  Roo, the shire, is a very kind soul but I am embarrassingly nervous of him.  I was very much on crutches when he arrived with us and I think the memory of feeling so vunerable next to him has carried through.  I had been pre warned that he had cantered up behind the last mare to be turned out through his field HOWEVER I managed to get through (without letting him through either gate despite his attempts) and off Pea went to find her friends.

Doing my stable was slightly compromised by the fact I had a wrestle with a bucket of water and lost. Not ideal on an already icy night!

Positives

– I didn’t wimp out of any of the things I was worried about.. and I need not have been worried in the first place! The difference in my confidence compared to previous years is unbelievable – fingers crossed it stays that way!

Learning Points

– Thermals.

– Don’t get Pea stressed out thinking she is staying in all night if she’s not!

– Must get stronger! I should be in charge of buckets, buckets shouldn’t be in charge of me!

– Communication with home would have been better than letting this happen..

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7 Comments

  1. You’re so brave, and this post is so funny. My favourite line might be “I gentled the wild beast with the support of some carrot stretches”… you had me laughing, and rooting for you, the whole time. What an inspiration you are!!! xx

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  2. I also get the “are you still alive?” texts from my boyfriend on a semi regular occurrence hahah! Well done you for staying brave, it’s not easy!

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  3. Ha, the text message made me laugh! My husband inevitably calls while I’m astride, and I just don’t answer. He knows that I will be out of pocket for hours and luckily doesn’t seem to worry unless he’s tired of watching the kids alone. I like how are mentioned not worry about things unless you need to. I am guilty of this as well. Having your own horse does help you build trust in them and yourself, doesn’t it? Keep up the good work!

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