Jungle Fever!

I had to seriously restrain myself today.

Once again, I ended up riding twice today. To be honest I think I over did it a bit as my chest feels rather ‘on fire’ at the moment. I’m sure I’ll be fine though. The first ride was for the Equestrian Teaching module and today I was given one of the new horses, Tarzan, as my noble steed. And, sad and immature as it is, all I wanted to do the whole time I was riding him was beat my chest and yodel in a jungle man fashion. Yup yup. If I wasn’t still struggling to breathe at the best of times, I might have found it a bit harder to resist the urge.

He was actually really rather cute. He’s an older horse, 19 I think, so he’s quite stiff and not very easy to bend. He’s also a little spooky still and I don’t think he’d worked in the indoor school before so that was all new for him. He did remarkably well considering all that. Hollie had put some trot poles out for us to go over (and after last weeks debacle I was desperately hoping Tarzan wouldn’t let me down) so after Ellie guided us through our warm up, Hollie asked us to start going over the poles and keep as straight as we could. Tillie sailed over them on Victor and Becky woke Harry up so much that she got rather excited. When it was our turn, we trotted up quite calmly and I thought “oh good, he’s fine with poles then” but as we got within a couple of strides he abruptly dropped his head, pulled back to walk and walked over them very slowly, giving each one a cautious sniff. Bless.

The next time round was no problem and he trotted over them nice and definitely. He was extremely precise about where he put his feet, seeming determined not to let them touch the poles. So his strides over the poles were beautiful and bouncy and light. Hollie said it also helped him to extend his stride a bit as they were slightly long for him due to his strides being particularly short for his size. He was a very good boy throughout the lesson and I actually quite enjoyed riding him. His canter has a nice rhythm to it, despite the stiffness and unwillingness to bend. But then he probably feels creaky and achy, so I don’t blame him really.

Our second riding session was an actual time-tabled lesson and at first my heart sank when I saw that I was down to ride Lucky. It’s not that I have anything in particular against him, I just do not enjoy riding him. I find it frustrating and feel, on the whole, like I’m just going backwards rather than making any progress. A blessing soon approached though as I realised that Emma wasn’t in today which meant that her allocated pony, Midge, was not going to be ridden. “Hurrah” went my brain…a way out! So I swapped onto the Midgelet (with permission from yard staff, of course!)

And apart from her rather strange aversion to Becky and Fox, she was grand. She certainly worked hard as she was rather sweaty afterwards, and I could feel her starting to use her hindquarters more towards the end of the lesson. She’s quite an excitable mare and gets whizzy over the slightest thing. And for some unknown reason she had decided that Fox and Becky were not her friends today. Every single time we went to go past, she would shy away and skitter off to the side, sometimes breaking into canter to get away from them. Becky couldn’t work out what she’d done wrong, but I’m not entirely sure there actually was anything. I think Midge was just being peculiar.

We did some good canter exercises though, asking for the transition on the long side of the school and then turning immediately and riding a half 20m circle across the school, coming back to trot just before hitting the track on the other side. Not only did it encourage a little bit of bend and engagement from the horses, it also required them to respond quickly to the leg. Transitions, up and down, had to be accurate and smooth. At first, Midge just got “canter canter canter” into her head and tried to take off around the school. It took some rather firm disagreement from me, and a few circuits of extremely fast bouncy trot during which I felt just how extremely effective slowing your own rise can be, but we got there in the end. Our last couple of canter curves were really rather good, the transitions were fab and the canter was less speedy and strung out. Faberoo.

So I had two rather nice rides today. I feel quite fortunate. It was nice to ride someone different and get to know how he went. I did enjoy Tarzan quite a lot actually. I’d like to ride him again and do a bit more with him, maybe in the outdoor school where he’ll feel a bit more settled and may be able to work through a bit more. And I like riding Midge as well. She’s one of those horses that you either enjoy or don’t. Personally, I think she’s a nice little horse. She’s my second choice for the dressage test we’re doing in December, Mr Foxy Lox being numero uno.

And one of these days I will stop being ill! I can’t believe it’s taking me so long to recover. I suppose insisting on riding and going out in the cold and whatnot is probably something to do with it. But then I can’t go having my mother imprison me in the house all the time now can I!? I’m a big girl after all. I’ll get there, I’m sure. If only it would warm up a little. I do not like November.

It is so very cold that I am wearing pyjamas over my jodhpurs and jumpers over my jumpers. Brr.

Which leads me neatly on to my joke for today…

“Why did the two penguins jump up and down when they met?”

“Because they wanted to break the ice!”



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