Just when you think it can’t get more exciting!
I have spent the entire evening with a massive adrenalin rush! Why, I hear you ask? Oh, okay then. I suppose I can share. You did ask nicely after all.
This afternoon Tillie and I had the chance to try our hand (and everything else) at vaulting. And OH MY GOD it was so much fun. I can’t wait to do it again. We spent most of the afternoon feeling a bit jealous because all the camp kids were getting to have a go and we were just watching and supervising. Eventually though, their day ended and Ginny got Monty back out so that the staff could have a go.
So Tillie, Rieke (a new german intern), Sara (a member of stable staff), Elliott and myself de-wellied and got ready to vault. The trickiest part was actually getting on, because Ginny made us do it while the horse was moving. Once we’d got past that obstacle, however, the rest was one of the most exhilarating experiences ever! Even better than jumping without stirrups. I like Ireland.
At first we had to get used to the rather peculiar feeling of sitting on a foam pad on a horses back with no stirrups or reins. She then got us holding our arms out straight, keeping balance both in walk and trot. After that we had to do a move called the “flag”. It involves pulling something like a superman pose, balancing on one knee with one leg extended behind us, reaching forward with the opposite arm. We had to hold that for a while and man does it work your core muscles! For some unknown reason Ginny then pushed Monty up into trot while I was holding it, which was somewhat less comfortable, but still fun.
Then came the hardest and best thing ever! The Stand. Which does exactly what it says on the tin. We had to get ourselves standing up on the back of a moving horse. It was terrifying. When Ginny said “okay, let go and ease yourself upright” I was totally ready and said “okay, yep” straight back. And yet somehow my hands were still holding on. Even though I thought I was completely prepared, there was some psychological element holding me back and stopping me from actually letting go and standing up. I think that’s fair enough though to be honest, because let’s face it, it’s a bloody long way up!
I did it eventually though. And oh my god it felt good. The adrenalin started pumping right about then. I felt like I could do anything from that point onwards. Nothing could stop me. I was totally and utterly invincible. Until my ankle gave way and I fell back into a sitting position with very little decorum…
Tillie did all the same things, and seemed to have just as much fun. We both came away from it thinking the same thing “riding, what’s that? I’m a vaulter now”. We have put forward some very strong requests to do lots more of it, hopefully moving into some canter work as well before we leave. Ginny is game, so with any luck we’ll be circus performers before too long. Hurrah!