At the age of 47 I took up a new interest…………horse-riding. Since September of last year, Lydia has been having lessons. I’ve really enjoyed taking her and the ladies at the stable are lovely. In fact I was enjoying it so much I was determined to give it a go. I had some lessons 25 years ago, but never got on well. This time was going to be different.
In my imagination I see myself competently taking my pony over the jumps, long hair blowing in the wind (mine not the pony’s) as I canter across a sandy beach, bottom pert, thighs toned. Then reality kicks in. My hair is not long and never really has been and at the age of 47 if certain attributes are not pert and toned then the likelihood of them ever being so is very remote.
My husband was very excited with my new hobby… especially when a catalogue arrived full of jodhpur clad lovelies wearing knee high riding boots. Unfortunately, I am not the model for the cover of Jilly Cooper’s “Riders” I’m more….. well ….. Thelwell!
Toffee is the name of the pony that I ride. She is brown and 13.2 hands. Just right for me as I’m on the short side. I usually see Toffee every Sunday when she is in the riding school with some little girl atop taking her through her paces. She always does as she’s told…..that is until she has me in the saddle.
I start my lesson by giving Toffee a big pat. She responds by giving me a big nudge. I pick myself up and prepare to mount. I’ve had about 6 lessons so far. Out of those six, Toffee has got “spooked” twice, stumbled twice and on two occasions has decided to wander away from the track to a scratching post to sort out her fringe. “I’ve got this” I yell, trying to sound confident whilst clinging on gallantly and assuring Kate, my instructor that I’m fine and having a whale of a time.
On lesson two I was doing so well that Kate suggested a canter. It was exhilarating…. I was actually going fast (and I don’t usually like speed). However, this is a pony that is 13.2 hands. To give you an understanding as to how fast we are going, Kate runs alongside. She’s a fit girl is Kate.
Mastering the dismount is another technique that has improved over time. I can do the lean forward. I can just about do the swing right leg over the saddle. Then I do a sort of “slither” to reach the ground safely.
But I love Toffee, I love the fact that she is a pony with decided character and I will stick with her.
Lydia keeps asking me if we can get a pony when the dog dies. I’m seeing a man about a dog on Tuesday……..