Thursday, 9 April 2015

WHERE MY HOBBY BEGAN

This post will most likely be of no interest to anyone but I really wanted to put this somewhere, so if you do actually read it, thanks!
A nice foetus picture here for you. This was the second time I was in Ireland with the horses
It's me again. If you saw my last post you'll know my family and I headed to Northern Ireland to visit family for a few days. As a 10 year old, 8 years ago (in the exact place we visited last week) this is where my first real hobby started. The family we visit own a house with a couple of horses, fields and stables, so there I was as a 10 year old grooming the horses, helping take them out to the field, picking up their poop and just generally spending lots of time with them. It wasn't until I got home that I realised how much I enjoyed working with the horses. I literally cried everyday until my parents suggested we find a riding school for me to start having riding lessons. I started off with a couple of lessons and in no time at all I was earning a lesson a week helping at the yard from 8:30 in the morning till 5:00 at night Saturday and Sunday. It was tiring and hard work but I loved it so much, I met so many people my age that loved horses as much as I did.

After about 18 months at this yard I knew I had outgrown the place (and my favourite pony left), I hadn't really progressed in my riding skills however I think that being around so many different horses and ponies really helped me develop my ground work and learning how to be around horses so I'm so thankful that I started there. In hind site it was a bit of a sh*t hole but it loved it none the less.

Not long after I left that yard, I found another. It was amazing and as with the old yard, I was helping every weekend and spending a large majority of my school holidays there. My riding really progressed and I decided that ponies were my preferred choice over horses. I learnt to ride every type of pony which is why I think riding schools are so great. I stayed at this yard for 2 or 3 years and was one of the oldest volunteer helpers. Being one of the oldest also meant getting to ride some of the cheeky ponies if they'd been a bit naughty in other lessons which was one of my favourite things. At this point I didn't care if I fell off so long as I was around the horses. I was helping during lessons which helped keep me physically fit and obviously it just meant even more time learning about horses and being around them. This riding school in particular was great because I learnt the three paces, walk, trot and canter and also jumped up to about 3 foot. After making lots of great friends and having some of the best times I felt like it was time for me to move on. I wasn't particularly interested in jumping the biggest or going the fastest and felt that I wanted to learn more about natural horsemanship etc. This isn't something that I wouldn't be able to learn there.

I started searching for a smaller yard to ride, and I hit the jackpot. A place 15 minutes walk from my house. One horse, one pony and one instructor. I learnt natural horsemanship which enabled me to form a strong bond with the two horses, I made a few great friends there and we collectively loaned a third pony which meant my instructor, friend and I could all go out for hacks together. I single handedly taught children how to ride, I helped every weekend and went on some really awesome adventures around the fields in my town, I also went to my first show which was so enjoyable. Thinking back now I'm gutted that I stopped riding here but other commitments meant that I just didn't have the time. It's been about two years since I stopped riding. We were in Ireland 18 months ago and I was able to ride again there everyday for the whole week. We rode on the beach which was incredible and did a small amount of jumping too. That was the last time I'd ridden. Until last week! I'm going to write a follow on post from this to talk about my first time back in the saddle after 18 months!
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