My adventures

My last Inclusive Riding Session at Scropton

Hello! So, I have entered the last semester of my course, which means it’s MA Dissertation time! Many things end with the end of the spring semester at university and one of them was the equine therapy sessions organized by our Equestrian society. I’d like to share it with you not only because it’s the last one, but also it’s quite episodic!

So, here we go, my phone screen read “9 June 2016, 09:00”. We set off to Scropton stables with our bus driver Mr. Paul and reached the stables soon enough for our usual biscuit splash. It was such fun to compare the time you’ve spent at Cripps Health Centre to the time your comrades have spent there too, haha!

We were split into 2 groups and found out that the lessons would be carried out in the outdoor school. I was in the second one, so, I was taking some photos and videos while I was waiting. I wasn’t sure whether I would ever be able to join the sessions again, so I wanted to return home with a camera full of memories! OK, I might have taken photos of the arrangements on the indoor arena to give Yannis some ideas for his riding lessons!

In time, it was my turn to get my lesson and was given a cute four-legged newbie -which looked like a friesian- Juice. It’s the first time I had ridden at Scorpton a horse other than Babs. But Babs was also being ridden, and, actually, she would be ridden by Helen, the lady who usually rides Juice. Juice showed from the first second that we would get on very well. Though a bit bouncy, he was immensely willing and responsive during the warm up on the arena, and soon I decided to give up my schooling whip.

And so the lesson began. I could not believe how energetic Juice was. His trot was amazing and I could not believe it he was actually so good and fast! He was also very willing with my efforts to canter, giving a well-needed boost to my confidence. But in one of those efforts, I lost my left stirrup and I found myself hanging on Juice’s left side, unable to save myself from falling, as I couldn’t put my stirrup back on and, despite my desperate efforts, I could not stop the fall and stabilise myself on the horse’s back using my right leg. Absolutely hating the fact that I was having my first-ever fall from horseback, I pulled the reigns a little to slow Juice down, used my left thigh to brace the fall and, finally, applied the “emergency release” technique which Yannis has taught us (I can say I was proud of and thankful to my home instructor). And so my bum touched the ground first, followed by my feet, head and spine completing a “posh” fall, as the instructor said! And, as I was waiting like an elderly lady to be picked up by someone, I admired Juice’s sweet face from the ground up, as he was standing absolutely still and chewing calmly his bit. Basically, the only impacts of the incident was a hurt ego, a big laugh and a set of bruises. Within two minutes I was back in the saddle and the fun continued!

The last part of the lesson was jumping, which, as always made me feel nervous. I don’t know what’s wrong with me when I do jumping, but it makes me feel under-confident. I still encounter balance issues, so this might be a reason. When the instructor asked whether I had any experience with jumping and whether I would like to do it, I was like “er, I could try with a small jump”. So, she set up a small jump and when it was my turn, she led me to the jump. Alas, Juice had felt my nervousness and would not move from his place! Finally, we made it and Juice gave me a lovely, lovely jump! And he got the pats and kisses he so well deserved!

So, this is all I remember, since I’m writing this post two weeks after the lesson and it’s 5:00am! But anyways, even if the fall made me walk weirdly for a week, I enjoyed the session and finally found out that there’s nothing wrong with falling provided you know how to fall.

Here are some photos from the sessions. Sorry, guys, the video will come with some delay!

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