In the past year, most things in my life have gone terribly wrong. Equestrian is one of them and the fact that I have had to switch riding cultures (again) has made it all feel worse in my mind. I started riding in Crete, then carried on in Nottingham, then back in Crete -as a novice. When it comes to riding, there’s not much difference between Britain and Greece. English riding is preferred to Western in most areas of the country, and people keep riding English on a Western saddle. The difference lies mostly in the way we train and handle horses over here. In most cases, we look into our behavior instead of the horse’s when something goes wrong. When it comes to hot and grumpy horses, we focus on what needs to be done from our part to prevent a disaster.
While I was in Britain I learned a lot of things and also fixed a lot of issues. I developed my skills in yard work, improved my balance and flexibility, and became a pro at trotting on all kind of horses. I did all kinds of pole work without issues and looked forward to showing Yannis my progress. Or, this is what I had planned to do if my life hadn’t gone so wrong.
Between June and December last year, I saw equines only on pictures and videos. Therefore, last January I had to start almost from the beginning. I knew how to ride, but my body didn’t. And then, I found out that Canada, an intelligent ex-racer I had been in love with needed a part-owner. This black baby of mine is not only intelligent, playful and energetic but also gallops at 70km/h. Very soon, Canada bucked me off causing me injuries all over my back, so both Yannis and I realized that he might still be too hot for me. Since then, I’ve been training on Voukefalas, a strong miniature horse, who can barely hold my weight. Things have slightly improved, as I have been cantering a lot on his back, but my balance and steering skills are still pathetic. The situation has shown to improve slowly but steadily with every lesson, but Yannis’s words on how much room there is for improvement makes me want to cry. He blames the British for “teaching me wrong”, but the truth is, they didn’t teach me wrong; it’s just where a seven-month interruption has led me.
In spite of what everyone expected, I’m not discouraged by this decline. On the contrary, I’ve seen it as a challenge and my short-term dream is to gallop on Canada across Ierapetra’s beautiful fields. And, by the time I do it, he’ll be fully equipped, as I have already checked the tick boxes on my tack wishlist. It’s a hard challenge, but I’m sure I’ll make it in the end. What the heck, I’ve coped with worse stuff anyway.