Thursday, 23 August 2012

A 'first' at 36

For a while now, 'A' has been driving me mad to go horse riding.  I have to say this is something I've wanted to do myself for as long as I can remember but I did wonder if at the age of 36 I was a little too old to be potentially 'falling off' a horse.  After a little discussion I finally decided to do a bit of searching online to see if I could find a suitable place for us to experience our first pony ride.  I came across a site called part of livetheadventure and after a few emails back and forth we booked a 45 minute hack.

The Ginny Hole centre was located in Stottesdon which was nearly an hours drive from home.  Far too much time, I have to say, to weigh up the pros and cons of why I'd finally decided to do this.  'A' was seriously looking forward to it though so I figured it was now or never.  When we arrived the staff that greeted us were so friendly they immediately put us at ease.  We discovered that I would be riding 'Apache' and 'A' would be on 'Thunder'.  We laughed when we heard the name of 'A's horse as I had mental pictures of a huge black stallion, rearing up and neighing!  It turned out that both Apache and Thunder were very lovely black and white cob horses that were extremely well behaved and calm and nothing like the the image their names conjured up.

As it turned it, 'A' and I were the only riders on this particular hack and as we'd never so much as sat on a horse before they decided it would be a good idea for us to each have our own member of staff to accompany us on the ride.  This was great as it filled us with a lot more confidence.  We were given directions on how to 'steer' the horse and get him to move and then off we went for our 45 minute walk.

We were told that the horses are extremely clever and that usually within 5 to 10 minutes they have a notion of what type of rider is 'onboard' and if they feel it's a novice then they decide to 'try it on'!  Apache tried this a couple of times by eating the hedge as we walked along and then doing some serious head shaking.  I never realised that it could be quite so difficult to control a horse.  You watch others doing it and it looks so simple, but even managing to keep your balance at such a height can be tricky if the horse decides to have a wobbly moment.  We did attempt a little trot on the way back up the lane which was fun but blimey was it knackering and we only did it for a couple of minutes!

I'm very pleased to say that neither of us fell off and both returned with our limbs all intact.  After seeing how high you are on the horse's back falling off would definitely be the last thing I'd aim to do.  We both had a fabulous time at Country Treks.  I can't see myself competing in the 2016 games but it's really something I'd like to try again at some point and 'A' has said the same.  Horses are such beautiful and intelligent creatures, it was a real honour to be so close to them even if it has taken me 36 years to get around to it.

'A' and I with 'Thunder'

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