From the tender age of seven I was a pony addict. Literary ponies, plastic ponies, duvet covers with ponies; it was all about the ponies.
I rode consistently from the age of seven to around eighteen, even revelling in mucking out (why?!). I would ride any pony or horse and size or temperament, no dramas, no fear, just a happy horsey cloud.
Fast-forward ten years to working full time and a mortgage that is a touch leisure-limiting, I have only been in the saddle on the odd holiday and have become unaccustomed to riding.
I recently had a small epiphany, realising animals and spending time looking after them makes me immeasurably happy. So I popped online to see where I could go to meet some horses and rebuild the boundless confidence of my seven year old self.
I stumbled upon Aldersbrook Riding School (link below) and found that they do a seven week course cunningly entitled “taking back the reins”. One hour to spend on the yard, grooming and learning about horse care and another hour in the saddle honing your riding skills; perfect!
The biggest challenge in plucking up the confidence for the first day was the attire. Riding attire is not the most flattering and my old cream jodhpurs no longer do me any favours – think a sock filled with cream cheese. Thankfully Sports Direct did a lovely black pair for about £15, so coupled with black boots and a black fleece I was good to go (black is my safe place).
Currently on week three of the course and I feel my allocated steed, Kasir is finally starting to accept my presence. We’ve had a hack, bounced over some trotting poles and had a manic canter around the arena following an (apparently very scary) fart. I’ve revisited and learnt a lot from the course so far and am redeveloping my horse crush.
The experience continues to be amazing and I would thoroughly recommend it. Horses seem to instil a real sense of calm and it is really cathartic spending time with them.
Small disclaimer here: Due to Kasir being a ,my grooming skills may look questionable in the pictures as he seems to love getting mucky; but he does look better after my tireless brushing…..promise.