OK everyone, I need your help here.
What is your best childhood, horse related memory? Was it being gifted your first pony, or an activity you used to do? A competition?
I`ll start us off.
When we were little, and had been good in the lesson, or if it was someone`s birthday, we`d mumble and argue (in the style of Oliver Twist) until someone got up the courage to ask our instructor if “we could gallop to the top”.
Inevitably we were given the go ahead, and at the end of our lesson we would exit the arena and turn right, instead of left towards the yard, and head into the school field. The large 10 acre field on the hill behind the school. The horses started jigging as they knew full well what was about to happen.
“Wait until you get round the corner!” Was the final, useless instruction we received, and, usually before the word “Go!” one horse would bolt, with the rest of us close behind. There was a bit of nudging, and jiggling as we negotiated the turn and then we were off! We galloped to the diagonal top of the field, pulling our horses up just before the large hedge in the corner.
It was great fun, and we were always buzzing and laughing on the walk back down. The horses loved it too, they knew exactly what to do and always stopped in the corner before walking calmly back. The only problem was that if the horses were in the top field, and we wanted to ride bareback up to their field, we inevitably had to gallop into the top corner before turning left and walking to the other gate!
I believe this tradition still happens all through the summer, but unfortunately now Health and Safety doesn`t allow me, in my riding school, to do anything like this, and I think the net result is that kids don`t learn to balance and just sit on their galloping pony, don`t get that buzz from racing their friends, or get that “this is why I ride” feeling. Even now, when I go hacking with friends, we have that cheeky race up a field or along a path, it brings back memories of the first time I galloped to the top with the “big girls” and felt oh-so-important.