My adventures

A training day at the equestrian club

I might be from Crete, but this does not mean that I’m always there. I live in Nottingham now, studying War & Contemporary Conflict. Thank God, there is an organized riding club, which has arranged training sessions and other events with Trentvalley equestrian centre

Our transportation is admittedly a pain; the equestrian centre can be accessed from Nottingham only by car or train (about 30 mins). But when you have good companion, with similar interests and you head to an organized place, you really don’t realize how time passes. Yesterday it was my turn to get by train to the stables, along with many other riders.

I left my hall at about 11:30. I took the bus to the Broadmarsh centre. Then I walked to the station, across Trent river’s canal, and realised I had arrived (again) one hour later. As I was walking, many people -including policemen- were checking out my long dressage whip. I can’t even remember how many security staff checked me out! Anyways, I waited patiently for the others to arrive, and in time the cross-country train arrived too. It was one of those sunny days which I love. The scenery was majestic; grass, trees and water everywhere, just a few clouds.

We arrived at the stables at 13:45 and beginners -including me- had to get ready for the first lesson of the day. It’s the second session of our preparation for the beginners’ exam (please help me remember its name). So, we were shown how to get the horse out of the stable. Next, how to fix the stirups, and girth and, finally, how to mount (well, obviously we knew that already). We also had to fix these things while seating on the saddle. My personal target this month is to make it to a decent rising trot. Thankfully, my instructor does her best to assist me. She observes me carefully and tells me what’s wrong with me. Finally, yesterday I made it! I wasn’t perfect, but still, I’m almost there now! So, we did everything included in the manual; walking straight, walking in circles, making circles around obstacles. After 50 minutes of intensive training, we had to unmount, sort the stirups properly, stand by the horse and waiting to deliver it to the rider from the next class.

Before I finish, let me write about the challenges of a foreign rider trying to adjust to English riding. And that’s even more difficult if they are a beginner. First, it is the language barrier. I have to ride and understand the instructions being shouted at everyone at the same time. And I have to adapt to the English riding style. Yesterday I learned how I should hold a whip properly. It’s in my left hand, not in the right. And then… mounting. I’ve learned to hold both the back and front of the saddle, not just the front when I mount. And so many other little things. But thankfully, my instructor, Laura, is patient enough!

Here are some pictures:

My happiness and exhaustion did not allow me to take pictures from the return route. But, what the heck! I managed to do the rising trot, I learned how to hold the whip properly and my instructor said I would be fine on the exam day!

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