Similar to my post on Tuesday and my reflections that followed, today I have been challenged by Mindful Riding to Throwback Thursday, to encourage me to think about how I have changed and how far that I have come in my journey.
Some horses will test you, some will teach you and some will bring out the best in you.”
In my mid-teens I think it was, I counted the number of horses and ponies that I had been lucky enough to ride, and there was just over 30 of them, a number I’m sure may well have doubled in the time since. Some of those may have been just a one-off ride, but I can remember them. The others may have been whilst our lives ran parallel for a while, but I wonder if those horses realise that when they were in my life, chances are, they were my life.
Horses have been my favourite past time for as long as I can remember, to ride or simply be with them. I will always say that never having my own horse was a massive lesson in itself, I learnt to listen to each horse for how they wanted me to be with them, and more often than not, the answer was myself. I have always loved that about them, the way they ask for close to nothing (but treats are always appreciated) and for you to be completely unapologetically you.
One of my first instructors used to say to me that I wasn’t “determined” enough, that I didn’t chase after the horse I was riding to get the results that I wanted, and for a long time I thought that I wasn’t enough. That was until an instructor a few years later pointed out that the horse I was riding, who I am told used to struggle to click with riders, went well for me. She said that I would sit quietly, not interfere, I would ask her for a transition or a movement, and then sit back and allow her to do just that. In that moment, the critism from years before had a new interpretation and approach, one that I could finally be proud of.
As I have said a number of times now (and I am sorry to keep repeating myself!), I have been taught so many lessons by the horses who have crossed their paths with mine, and the same can be said for instructors. I have ridden BHS, dipped into Classical Dressage and ridden somewhere in between, and find it so important to listen to the horse as to how they would like to be ridden, something I am so grateful to be able to credit to the journey that I have taken with the horses who have got me where I am today.
My dream is to get a youngster, to watch it grow up and raise it to be a combination of the best that I have ridden – best in my mind defined as polite, willing, co-operative, fun and a dancing partner that I can be proud of… and hopefully, my dancing partner will be proud of the rider that I have become too.