In general, I try to stick to our RDA’s Inclusive Riders’ session, held once a month at Scorpton RDA Riding and Driving Centre. This month’s session took place last Wednesday, with a really cold weather and my mood was strangely funny. I don’t know what caused this, I just remember forgetting my whip in the classroom after the Contemporary Warfare seminar and finding myself in the awkward position of having to disturb the next class to retrieve it, with the professor and his students left watching me puzzled pull a 60cm red whip from the chair which was resting right underneath the table! Maybe it was also my funny cheap, but very warm breeches, which feel too slippery in the saddle. But, as I said, it was very cold, and this pair was the warmest, so, here we go, I had to wear them -_-
At 1:00 pm we embarked on our trip to Scorpton in a merry mood. After a tea-and-biscuit feast, we were parted into two groups and the lessons began. I was in the first group and had booked Babs! Her sight from the school made my day while I was waiting to be allowed in it! I was first to mount and I was behaving like a kid on a mounting block, waiting in a jolly mood for Babs to be led to me.
In time, the lesson began. It was the funniest, most distractive equestrian lesson I had had in Britain! First of all, that silly smile on my face; secondly, the fact that Babs was quite willing, even if she was completely confused about where we were heading to exactly! But she did perfectly each and every corner that I had asked for, like a lady. Even if she has a problem with going in a straight line, it was evident that she was doing her very best.
The instructors had created an interesting and challenging environment with poles and posts. Babs and I, who were among the most advanced in the group (beginners’ group, let’s be clear about that), were assigned the most complex exercises, that required balance and steering in trot. Excepting the fact that sometimes we lost track, the incident when Babs decided to jump over the poles and stubbornly pass over them a few minutes earlier (I’m guilty of letting her doing these things of course), the moment when I found my body hanging from her right side and pushing myself back into the saddle (because I hate falling, even if it’s a controlled fall), the lesson was brilliant, with the instructor admiring my -hard-earned- trot technique. Using my right leg and left rein to go left and using my left leg and right rein to go right is still difficult for me, and to be honest, it doesn’t make that much sense to me yet. At home, I have learnt to use the left reign with the left leg and right rein with the right leg when I steer, and the horse corresponds perfectly to that, as I take myself the position that I want the animal to take.
The big issue though was the number of times I whipped Babs. I normally use my legs quite a lot before whipping, but I didn’t have the same patience that day; even if Babs was doing her very best. I didn’t whip her heavily, though. Just once here and there, when she needed a boost to get to the trot. Eventually, the whip was taken away, and to be honest, it was a fair decision, both in terms of my training and Babsie’s welfare.
When the lesson ended, I found the chance to rub Babsie’s muscles and pose at Amanda’s camera, which had been photographing like crazy. When I dismounted and stood next to Babs, I could feel that she was relaxed and trusting. Suddenly, I began to think about my whip, which I had to collect. And, before I finished my thought, Babs raised her head alarmed. Sixth sense? Maybe.
Shortly we had to put the horses back in their stalls and untack them. When I turned Babs in, she ran to her hay which was lying on the floor of her stall immediately. She didn’t even wait to approach it, she just extended her neck and began to eat. Nothing would interrupt her meal; whatever you did on her or around her, Babsie was bombproof. She wouldn’t bother. I took her bridle off while she was chewing because it was the only time when she would lift her head lol. But she had worked hard, so she deserved it.
After putting the tack away, we sat and watched the next group’s lesson. When they too finished, we found the exit. I waved goodbye to Babsie while I was passing by her stall. She lifted her cute head and gave me the kind of horsey smile that I love. Her eyes were shining. See you again in April, Babsie! And now the pics, all taken by Amanda: