Today’s challenge by Mindful Riding was to reflect on my proudest moment to date with my pony, however, I am still excitedly (and impatiently-patiently!) waiting for the day when my very own equine partner in crime arrives.
Whilst this can sometimes be a struggle, the silver lining of this cloud is that it has meant that I have had the opportunity to meet and ride some amazing horses and ponies, that have each given me some pretty awesome memories, and lessons that I will always carry with me.
When I started taking regular lessons, I rode a 15.2hh piebald cob, Major. I remember our lessons fondly, and looking back I will always be grateful for his patience with me getting to grips with the lessons I needed to learn, such as a secure canter and learning to jump. He was always so willing to overlook my mistakes and help me when he knew I needed him too, he really was just what I needed to learn and I will always love him for that.
The next pony I was tasked with, between my lessons on Major, was the beautiful Haflinger in the first photo, Hazel. She was absolutely stunning and she knew it. What she also knew, was that she could give some serious sass should she be in the mood to do so! I once tried to hang to the back of a ride to chat to a lady who I used to have lessons with, but Hazel had other ideas, preferring to stick closely to the rest of the group and cantering to catch up which caught 13 year old me by surprise! With that said, despite knowing what she did, Hazel was one of the most honest ponies I have ridden to date. The first time that I rode her, our inexperience was noticable. I was used to being helped out of sticky situations, but Hazel had never jumped before. We almost came to a stop before a tiny cross pole that had been set up for us as I took my leg off, rather than putting it on as reassurance. At the last moment, she must have realised that we needed to get to the other side and cat-leapt, giving our little jump some air! It was the first time, but wouldn’t be the last that I would accidentally test this little mare, but she passed each time that I did. It is something I would never forget my instructor at the time credited to the trust that Hazel must have had in me, another thing I will always be grateful to have experienced.
The middle photo is one of my absolute favourite memories, the day I finally made it to a competition! Having never had my own horse, getting to anywhere other than my usual lesson was really hard to come by and something I never thought would happen… but it did! My face leaving the arena says it all – so much happiness, relief and feeling incredibly proud of the horse, who could be quite difficult, but didn’t put a hoof wrong through the whole of our test (which had been changed from Intro B to Intro A the night before!)!!! Our results came in at 65.7% I think it was (I still have the sheet stored somewhere) and I couldn’t be more thrilled with him!
The final photo is of another of my proudest moments, out on an Irish Sports Pony called Danny. who I had only ridden once before this day. Similarly to competing being quite a big thing for me to be able to do, I had never had the opportunity to go on a “fun ride” before this date, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect pony to take me round, he was an absolute star! I can remember being totally blown away by the sensible attitude of this 5 year old pony, who as it happens was up for sale at the time… what I would have given for that pony!!!
There were horses before these rides, between them, and after that I have been grateful to come to know. They have made me the rider that I am, and given me a journey I will always be so very thankful for and proud of.