First Impressions of Horse Riding

This fun post is curtesy of Louise Baker, a freelance writer who writes over at Zen College Life and wanted to share her first impressions of riding with us.
Picking Hooves

Image from wildeharen

Those First, Scary Impressions

My first impressions of horse riding will forever leave a lasting impact on my memory. Initially, upon seeing Zephyr (the horse I was going to ride), I was very intimidated. She was a beautiful and statuesque horse and I can still recall how warm she felt. However, facing such a large and impressive animal at the tender age of fifteen, I very much afraid of falling.

My instructor walked me through applying the saddle blanket, placing the saddle on the horse appropriately and how to adjust her girth and cinches. As I was doing this, I could not help thinking about what it would be like, high up on this magnificent animal – and that prospect was a bit frightening.

Sitting Pretty

I still have a photo somewhere of me, my shaky smile mirroring my confidence, as I sat atop Zephyr. “Don’t worry,” my instructor laughed, “The fall’s not nearly as long as it looks.” This did very little to instill confidence in me, as we slowly moved around the arena ring.

Little by little, I began to relax, to feel more at one with the horse. As I did, the instructor began to allow for more speed, teaching me to move down a bit, sitting deeper in the saddle and giving her more reign. I did as I was told, kicking gently, a bit worried about hurting her.

Horse and Rider

Image from cesarastudillo

My first impressions of horse riding were that of a sort of fearful respect, and the respect was growing even as the fear abated. I couldn’t forget that she was so much stronger than me, even when she responded to my directions.

A Sore Ego

It wasn’t until the next day that I understood what the instructor meant by what he’d said. He was allowing me some free time with Zephyr to put into practice some of the concepts of the previous day. As we trotted merrily around the ring, I didn’t notice that she had begun to go a little faster, to trot a bit more wildly. I was merely enjoying the ride when up she went- and off I went.

Falling off

Image from lostinfog

I hit the ground with a thud, and Zephyr went happily cantering around the ring. While it was true it didn’t hurt as badly as I’d anticipated, in that moment, the respect I had for Zephyr actually grew.

It had become very clear to me that this was a unique, beautiful creature with a very definite mind of her own.

That was something I think I will carry all my life. Over the years, I have ridden a few other horses – but I will never, ever forget the lessons that Zephyr taught me in those first impressions of horse riding.

Louise Baker is a freelance blogger and you can find more of her writing at Zen College Life.

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