Thursday, 11 August 2011

Facing your fears and doing it anyway

A horse called Henry
My fear is a horse called Henry. Well, that would be making it too personal for Henry, who until this morning had never actually met me.
My fear is horses, or horse riding to be strictly accurate. (I would have just said riding but these days there are such connotations regarding the use of riding that you have to put horse in front of it especially when you are on Twitter or you get all sorts of comments which have nothing at all to do about the noble art of equestrianism).
I haven’t ridden for 20 years or thereabouts, and the last horse I rode was very young during a schooling session with the Kings Troop in London.
We got on well in the arena and I was quietly confident; that is until we had to jump and I fell to pieces quite spectacularly and pulled up a quivering shaking mess. I haven’t ridden since.
Henry awaiting his lunch
Why was I a mess when everything had gone so well? The problem stemmed from the ride previous to that particular one, which saw me wrap myself round a post and rails breaking three ribs and necessitating a trip by ambulance to the hospital.
I thought I was fine about horse riding. But obviously the way our minds work is way deeper and far more complex than I ever imagined. My body just refused to do anything and I careered towards the jump out of control and only stayed on through sheer luck. I cannot say I was ever a bruising rider or even a confident rider. I was cautious but after the debacle with the Kings Troop I just sort of drifted away from it.
But years later I got the boys riding and somewhat to my surprise they enjoy it so I got them lessons at the local Riding School, Newton Hall in Swilland run by the redoubtable Rossie Theobold.
As I watched them I started to wonder if I could join them remembering how much I loved it as a child. In fact remembered how much I yearned for a pony of my own. Horse mad like many young girls.
So today I tried it again, faced my fears down on an old boy called Henry.
Blooming heck! It was HARD work!
Stoic Henry eating lunch
I know it was only for half an hour but I and my legs had obviously forgotten how physical it is especially on a slow poke that you have to keep kicking in order to keep moving forward. If you want a real work out forget the gym, go down to your local riding stables. By the end of 20 minutes I was drenched and could barely nod my head let alone speak when the wonderful Jordan, who was instructing me, suggested a walk round the yard to cool down. I might add that this was purely for my benefit not Henry’s who seemed as unperturbed by the whole experience as he was at the start. Stoic would best describe him.
The wonderful thing was in my efforts to keep him awake I totally forgot to be afraid and now I am looking forward to repeating the whole experience all over again – I must be mad!


mrsnesbitt said...

We live next door to an equistrean centre - they train racehorses actually so we have horses all around the village - mighty fine examples too. There are a couple for sale - for tacking whatever that is. The owner Howard, often chats when I am out walking with freida. He once told me he thought I was brave for getting on the back of a motorbike - I told him I thought he was brave getting on the back of a horse! Funny old world eh?

Rob-bear said...

Glad to hear you were up to "horsing around," TW. You obviously had a good time, or you wouldn't be thinking of going back. Sounds like you and Henry were a perfect match for each other. Well done!

Abi said...

Well done - I love horses, and horse riding, but even for me it's not easy to get back on after a bad fall, so that really took some balls!

About Last Weekend said...

Henry looks beautiful...I can totally understand your fears. I had a pony as a child but we realised later Squaw was never broken in properly. All I learned how to do was stay on the racing wild animal!

Kitty said...

Horses? *shudder* I like to stroke a velvety nose and offer a Polo or two, but nothing would make me climb on the back of one again.

Family holiday? You too? How many more grey hairs? Ours was an eye-opener. However, halos polished, we'll get our rewards in heaven!

You up north any time soon? Time for a cup of tea? xx

Anonymous said...

Good for you, really well done for facing your fears. I love horses but haven't ridden for about 7 years. I went to help out a pregnant friend of mine who has 3 hunters. I rode the smallest at 17hh! Her husband and another friend rode the other two. I literally put my bottom on the saddle and the daft beggar threw me off. It flippin' hurt as well!! Though I got back on and went on an hour's hack but believe me, my legs were shaking!

Amy wants another pony but we've told her she needs to wait till she's older and can look after it herself.

CJ xx

Spencer Park said...

I've never been on horse. Although, I have to say I love them!

Marcheline said...

Horseback riding was one of my constant dreams (I ate, slept, and dreamed horses from age 7 until I went to high school), and I took lessons until I was jumping. The instructor took my mom aside and said that I was at the point in my progress where I would either get a horse and start going to horse shows, or there was really no point in going on. As my family was in no financial shape to buy and board a horse, the lessons came to an end. I made do by teaching horseback riding at a summer camp... just to be around them. I still love horses to this day, and wish that riding good, quality horses was not such an "elite" activity.

Hack horses are good for that stability, calm nature, and stoic personality that you need right now to get over your fears. I am glad you met Henry and that he is helping you. Hope you see him again soon!

Joanne Mallon said...

Well done on facing your fear, something many people aren't brave enough to do

Elisabeth said...

I'm drawn to your blog simply on the basis of your name, Tattie Weasle. what a splendid name, if indeed it is your b=name, and even if not. and what a terrific post. I have only once ridden on a horse and that over thirty years ago. The whole time I was terrified and vowed never to get back onto a horse again. I'm pleased to meet you Tattie Weasle. The name just rolls around on my tongue.

Go on you know you want to...


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