When Horses Seemed so Enormous!
In a recent post we discussed the age at which kids should start riding. I certainly remember my first adventure in the saddle!
I think that my mother was determined to find something that I was good at and to find it early! We were making regular trips to the local swimming pool when I was six months old and she sent me to ballet classes shortly after my second birthday. I always enjoyed being in the water and I didn’t mind the ballet but things took a turn for the worse when I started to take piano lesson at the age of six. It was immediately apparent that I was never going to be a concert pianist!
A Lack of Talent
My mother quickly realised that I had no musical talent whatsoever. I was now seven years old and had proved to be a monument to averageness when it came to my artistic endeavours. I was good at sport though, which obviously changed my mother’s thinking.
The First Riding Lesson
One Saturday morning she bundled me into the car and refused to say where we were going. Half an hour later we pulled into the car park of a riding school. I realised that my next challenge was going to be horse riding. I recall being slightly bemused as my mother’s interest in horses had only extended to betting on those of the racing variety!
A few minutes later I was fitted with a hat and plonked onto what seemed like a rather large horse. It was certainly much bigger than the donkeys I had ridden at the beach. But I felt strangely at home in the saddle. A few weeks later I was enjoying wonderful hacks in the countryside and then I started learning to jump. We had found something that I was good at! Not that my mother knew anything about my achievements.
The Oblivious Parent
My mother was a busy women and so she rarely hung around at the stables when I was out riding. In consequence she was largely unaware of the progress I had made. This probably explains an incident which occurred a few months into my equestrian journey.
Mum had dropped me off as usual and then left the stables. I was going on a hack and the pony that I was supposed to ride was unavailable. The instructor soon appeared with the replacement which was an enormous animal. It turned out to be an ex-racehorse which went by the name of Gem. I felt like a little pimple sitting on that horse but it was easy to ride and I really enjoyed the trip. However, when we returned to the stable, my mother was horrified by the size of the horse. She confronted my instructor and asked her what the hell she was thinking of!
Mum was like the unstoppable force when she was angry. My instructor’s solution was to insist that she watched me ride in the arena. After she had seen me jump several fences she calmed down and apologised. A rather smug smile ensued as she realised that I wasn’t useless at everything.
Riding can be a great way to improve kids’ self-confidence, balance and co-ordination. For me, riding was a revelation. I have no idea why Mum decided to take me to the stables that day but I am so glad that she did!
If your child is learning to ride then keep an eye on their progress. They could have a talent for riding that you should know about.