I recently went horse riding. I’ve not been on a horse in a year or so and it is amazing how quickly you can forget how to horse ride.
I’ve been lucky enough to grow up with horses despite having a slight allergic reaction to them. I still love them!
I’ve quite mixed feelings about riding especially the traditional way, where kick it and pull it seems to be the answer. Instead, I’m used to the Western way of riding where no nasty bits are used in their mouths and the idea is to work with the horse’s personality instead of trying to control it.
Anyway, I went to Pant riding school which is only up the road from me. They had a special offer on for 1 hours woodland hack for £10 with a £1 charge for a riding hat.
On arrival, I noticed how clean the stables were and the horses were in good condition as in well groomed and fed. We all gave our information and the owner Pam was kind enough to give me a pair of riding boots instead of my unsuitable hiking boots.
I was introduced to Arthur – a 16 H jet black beauty that looked like he had Shire in him. He was devilishly handsome with flares on! We all set off with the rest of the riders and thankfully albeit a grey day it was dry.
Horse riding is a very good work out mainly because you’ve to keep your toes pointed, thighs semi tense so you’re able to stay on and elbows tucked in – staying in that position does hurt after a while!
I wish I could say that I enjoyed the ride but I didn’t. Yes Arthur was a bit of bush muncher that plodded and tripped along. I could tell he was tired and didn’t want me on his back. But that didn’t upset me as much as the way the volunteers told me to handle him. Instructing me to kick him in the ribs with my heels and pull on his reigns. This volunteer was particularly aggresive and although like I say it’s the traditional way of riding I still feel it to be very wrong.
I disagree with bits entirely – can you imagine having a piece of metal in your mouth with reigns attached that dig into your gums? Experienced riders who use bits know to only squeeze the reigns slightly so a vibration is sent. However novice riders, which these schools have a lot of, pull on the reigns so much that their mouths goes numb and they’re unable to feel anything.
Many people don’t see any wrong in it mainly because horses are such big creatures, and if they get out of hand, they need to be reigned in and quick! However what I have noticed with being around horses quite a bit is that most of them have behaviour problems because they’ve been mistreated. So much so that when you try to apply Western methods, it’s virtually impossible because they’re out of control!
Anyway back to the ride, we did a few sitting trots and the group split off into two groups – beginners -intermediates. The views were magnificent and we rode through Llanclys nature reserve which was lovely. The route is very bumpy and a lot of the horses trip so it is wise to keep their heads up because it helps them balance.
But to be honest I was glad to get back. I was slightly concerned to see some of the horses that we’d just ridden, getting saddled up again without being watered first.
I think Pant riding stables was OK but I don’t think some of their teenage volunteers should have been there. I witnessed one girl having a tantrum because the baby horses wouldn’t walk as fast as her and so she shouted ‘argh what would you do with baby horses -who’d have them?’ As she pulled and tugged on his reigns. Some of the other volunteers noticed and made a joke out of it to make it not such a big deal. It was highly unprofessional but quite typical with traditional horse culture.
What I’ve come to realise about horse riding is if you respect and look after your horse then he or she will do anything to look after you. However, you try and dominate and are cruel to them , then when you’re in a tricky situation, the horse will think of himself only…
I like the idea of a partnership and will be looking for Western style horse riding schools in Shropshire and Wales.
I’d like to know your experience with horse riding?
Disclaimer : I respect everyone has their own way of riding and my views are purely my own and directly related to my experiences.