As a child, I had an incessant fascination of horses. I have always loved animals, but horses were my obsessive go-to animal growing up. And like many children, my family couldn’t afford one. So I managed my fixation by riding friends horses, collecting toy horses (I still have an impressive collection of Grand Champion Ponies hidden in the back of a wardrobe somewhere), and running around pretending to be a horse. Yep, I was that annoying little girl.
As a teenager and young adult, I lost a lot of access to horses and began focusing on my other passions – other animals! So it wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I was reinfected with the horse-y virus, when a then stranger (but now best friend) generously invited me to her paddock to play ponies.
And then we met Katie.
Now the virus has fully invaded my system with no chance of reversing the effects. And it’s contagious.
Learning to ride as an adult has some disadvantages to learning as a child:
- My body is no longer as flexible, so I have had to work hard to make my body adjust to the seat of riding.
- My posture is TERRIBLE! And that’s not conducive to horse riding.
- I don’t 'bounce' like I used to and I certainly don’t recover as fast as I used to.
- I am an analytic over-thinker and I know a lot (that’s the point of studying, right?). I can think of 10 things in 2 seconds as to why something might not work the way it should – and in the beginning I was often wrong regardless.
Learning to ride as an adult has resulted in me learning the basics while attempting to fully grasp the advanced concepts at the same time because my adult brain simply refused not to – thank goodness for Katie!
Unfortunately it has also resulted in me being a little more nervous or timid of some progressive stages - which I will go into later.
Now I’m not saying that all adults learning to ride will experience this, or that kids learning now or adults that learnt to ride as children can’t experience the same issues, but this is how it has progressed for me and I’m sure there are a number of others out there in the same dinghy.
Being nervous (or afraid) has been a hindrance and blessing at the same time. Some people may say “3 years training to ride and still not cantering? Are you nuts?” and I may even agree with them a little, but I also know that I have spent this entire time building trust in my riding, trust in my horses, developing the horses and perfecting my basics and instincts. I am a competent (not always confident) rider in walk and trot with “an instinctive knowledge and application of skill for what the horse needs to develop and work” (thanks Katie <3).
And I wouldn’t change that for the world.