First Contact

The first time I got on a horse, I was 8 years old.

And it wasn’t a horse really. It was a little trekking pony. At the time, however, it was the most magical and exciting moment of my life.

Fast forward 14 years. Having finished my philosophy degree and spending a year fruitlessly searching for work, I went back to college to study horses. The first time I got on a horse there, it reared and bucked and pranced about. And it wasn’t a horse really. It was a little fat pony. It was, possibly, the best thing that could have happened to me to kick-start my horsey experience. It stripped me of all confidence completely and left me feeling vulnerable and utterly embarrassed in front of a bunch of 16 year olds who had been riding all their lives. I ended up standing in the middle of the riding school, feeling shaken and wanting to go home. I was then plonked on an elderly horse and walked around the school on the lead rein. For my lessons following that one, I rode the same elderly horse. I say rode. I didn’t ride. I sat there while someone walked around next to me. It was pretty mortifying.

Like I say, it was the best thing that could have happened. It reminded me how inexperienced I was and forced me to take things in baby steps rather than getting ahead of myself and trying to run before I could walk. Literally. I expect the others in my class were wetting themselves laughing at this ridiculous girl, so much older than them but with the least possible amount of experience ever seen by the college. I don’t blame them. I would have laughed at me too if I hadn’t been supressing tears.

I was just as bad on the ground as on a horse. I didn’t know the difference between a straw and shavings fork. I didn’t know how to hang up a haynet or muck out a stable. I couldn’t even put on a headcollar

I hope things are different now that we’ve moved on 9 months. I certainly feel different. It’s almost like I know what I’m doing.

Almost.

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