Saturday, March 8, 2014

An "Exciting" Riding Lesson...

Welp, yesterday was fun.

As some of you may know, I'm a horse-back rider. I'm currently taking lessons at a nearby stable, and have been taking there since... September I think? So yesterday we drove over there for my weekly lesson. I hadn't been riding in over 3 weeks because of a stupid stomach virus and cold, so I was very happy to be back. :D

It was a GORGEOUS day for riding, which was awesome. Perfect temperatures and glorious sunshine. ^_^ But my lesson horse, Athena (a dark palomino draft/quarter horse cross and a very big girl;), who is quite sweet, has loads of energy, and is basically a walking bull-dozer, ;D was being a bit of an... ummm... idiot. Yeah. (No offense, girl. I still love you. ;D)

So, after brushing and tacking her up, we head out to the outdoor arena and warmed up, then worked on some bending (which is basically getting the horse to "bend" around your inside leg. It helps the horse use their body better, and also looks quite nice ;D).

Next we picked up the trot. We were doing nicely for a while, just trottin' around, continuing to work on the bending in the faster pace, but then... Athena decided it was time to go back to the barn.

The arena was closed off with just a rope over the entrance, looped through a ring on both sides, and as we're trotting around, she just... bulldozed right through it. No joke. o.O

How I imagine Athena's thoughts at the time:

"Oh yeah, I don't care if that rope is closing off the arena we're just gonna trot right through it and yep go under that tree branch and practically take your head off... trot trot trot back to the barn..."

It was ridiculous, and maybe a little bit amusing... xD She got half way under the barn's roof before I could halt her, then I made her back out and march right back to the arena to try again. ;)

So, I was a little bit shaken up by this, but it has happened to me (horses running off with moi) quite a few times before, so I'm doing ok. Not too big a deal. She's a really sweet horse, so I'm not worried.

So, back in the arena, we continue the lesson with several more circles of trotting.

But, when we are passing the open "gate" again, she does a little rear/hop that makes me let out a "polite scream," as my instructor, Tracy, described it. ;D Aaaaand Athena trots us out of the arena -- again, almost breaking into a canter, and acting much more forceful about her little stunt then the first time.

This time I was able to stop her before she got to the barn again, but the whole thing gave me quite a fright, so now I'm in tears and literally shaking... :p

Seeing that this was more of a problem then originally anticipated, Tracy steps in and hops on Athena to work her a bit and make her realize she can't pull shenanigans like that, much to my relief, as I'm still fighting back tears and shaking like a leaf. ;)

So after showing me a few things to do in case Athena tried it again, Tracy then hands her back to me, and, with a much more heavy hand on the reins and a more "I'm in charge" attitude, I'm able to get Athena to do my bidding. ;)

So, yes. That was my exciting riding lesson. ;) I suppose it's just another "almost-spill" to add to the list... this was literally like the 5th or 6th time a horse has run away with me and almost dumped me... >.< But I gotta keep my record clean, ya know... haven't fallen off yet. ;D

And, although it was rather frightening, not to mention irritating, I do think I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. See, I'm the kind of rider that likes to keep a light hand on the reins and be very gentle and subtle in my riding, ya know? But, as I learned today, sometimes you can't always ride like that. Sometimes you have to really get on to a horse if they act up and disobey, and teach them that it's not acceptable. And it's ok to do that. You're not being mean, you're just teaching the horse. ;)

So yeah. That was my Friday! How was yours? :D


  1. Oh that's cool that you ride horses too! I've been riding for about six or seven years now and it's always neat to find a blog by someone who is not only an epic LOTR fan, but also a rider!! :D

    What?? You haven't fallen off yet?! Ya haven't lived, my friend. ;)

    God bless,

    1. Dude that's awesome! Yayyy for fellow LOTR fans!! ^_^ :D (hehe just checked out your [extremely cool!] blog and followed ya!)

      I know! I almost -- *almost* -- want to fall of sometime just so I can say I have... it does seem to be the defining trait of a hardcore rider. ;D Oh well. Someday it'll happen. xD


    2. Sweet!! Thank you so much for the compliments on my blog! :D :D

      (and oooh, I love your header design pictures---*so cool*)

      Haha, yeah falling off isn't exactly the most enjoyable activity...But, if you figure out how to hit the ground without hurting yourself it might boost your confidence. :)
      You said your horse was big, but how big? Eeek. Falling off of tall horses is probably really scary. I think most of the times I've toppled off have been on some shorter specimens. :P

      (although the horse I ride now is about 18 hands high...)


    3. :D Hehe thankya! Those are from a photo shoot of the Tauriel costume I made for the Desolation of Smaug premiere.. ;)

      Ah, yes... that is a good idea, though! I'm not sure *exactly* how many hands she is, but I know she's at least 17... probably more like 17.5? I should ask my instructor sometime... ;) Heheh, gotta love those big horses! ;D

  2. Cool new background and header and great little story about Athena! <3 Ta Mere

  3. Unfortunately lesson horses can get a little "sour." I don't like this term, because it applies to the horse, when it really should apply to their surroundings. Trotting around in circles can be boring (imagine running around in a circle for 20 minutes), but such a situation is necessary in order for people to learn to ride. Horses are smart and so they figure out that they can politely decline from said trotting in a circle. Now, if the same horse was ridden by you once you have all your mad riding skills, as soon as you felt it getting bored, you could do something else, like some leg-yeilding, or change the gait or the direction. Then, the next day, you'd go cantering in the field. Then, the third day, maybe you'd go on a trail ride. Unfortunately school horses don't usually get this type of varied experience, and so they get burned out. They don't have "fun" in the arena and can't understand that they're helping you to learn to ride. It's good to know how to correct a disobedience, and its even better to understand that there is something causing the disobedience. Also, it's good to understand that she could have had you on the ground if she wanted to, so in this situation, she was being very delicate with you, complaining to you and then showing you what she'd rather be doing.

    1. I agree with you 100%!! I myself was getting a bit bored, so I can only imagine what Athena was feeling like. And your last part, about having me on the ground, I kept thinking about that afterwards -- like, if she had wanted to, she could have totally bucked me right off and then *cantered* off to the barn without me. So I know that she is, in fact, a great horse with an awesome attitude; just, like you said, bored, the poor thing.

      As for variety, I'm hoping for some next lesson. My instructor has promised us some cantering and perhaps jumping (FINALLY;D).

      Btw, thanks for commenting!! I love that you brought out this side of things that too often gets ignored. :)

  4. I can relate! I haven't fallen off yet either. I've had interesting lessons (well, I say that, but my neighbor is letting me ride her horses, and passing on knowledge). The horse I ride tests whoever is riding him, to see what he can get away with before he is punished. And yeah, I don't like to speak harshly to him. He had been acting very nicely while I was brushing him down. I got out his saddle, and his attitude changed slightly, but he allowed me to cinch him up. Then I got his bridle. The last time I had ridden him, he had snapped at me a couple of times, but, with a lot of coddling, he finally accepted the bit. But this time, he lashed out at me. I cried, not because it hurt (well, kind-of), but because he hurt me, and I didn't know why. But, after he was bridled, he acted very nicely, and gave me a good, but shorter than normal, ride. So yeah, that's my story.