My favorite number? No.
My favourite Prince song? Well, yes. Yes it is. But still, not the reason for the title of this post.
Rather, Seven is the name of the Belgian-cross mare I rode last night at my very first lesson at the Riding Academy. And I am officially in love. Not just with Seven, although she is magnificent, but with the entire experience. I love the building, the smell of the stables, the adorably frisky dog that lives at the school, the lovely instructors (so pretty, so graceful, so FIT) and the feel of the velvety riding helmet sitting snuggly on my head.
And luckily, after she found out that I had some riding experience under my belt, my instructor offered some helpful words of encouragement as I hoisted myself up onto Seven last night, “It’ll come right back to you, seriously, it’s just like riding a bike.”
Oh, my God. So true.
If by “bike”, you actually “mean giant, powerful animal that could easily toss you half way across the paddock and then trample you to death in a flurry of metal shoes and hooves.”
So for your reading pleasure, here are five things that were decidedly NOT like riding a bike what-so-ever:
- Putting a bridle on is scary. Horses have very big teeth and funnily enough don’t really enjoy having a metal bar inserted into their mouths for the purposes of being “steered” by a human being. Can’t imagine why? You actually have to stick your finger into said mouth full of big teeth in order to get said metal bar inserted. Yeah, a little nerve wracking.
- Horses are huge. Like really, really big. The smallest horse at the Academy is just over 14hh tall. Her name is Honey and she’s the lucky lady that got to be the training horse for our tacking lesson last night. To give you an idea of how tall 14hh is, when I stand beside her the lowest part of the sway in her back is just around the same level as my neck. I’m 5’9”.
- No matter how patient or mild-mannered a horse is, they do not want their feet picked out by five different people at one grooming session.
- English saddle is a lot different from Western saddle. Now, I do know the difference and have ridden both styles in my day, but I guess I’d forgotten the part about HOW MUCH HARDER IT IS TO RIDE ENGLISH STYLE. Like seriously a lot of work. After 10 minutes of trotting my abs were cramping up and my inner thighs felt as though they had just burst into red hot flames.
- Posting is hard. Posting is the action of bouncing up and down in rhythm with your horse while it’s in a full trot. I know that sounds totally hot and everything, and truthfully it is totally hot. If by “hot”, you mean “a lot of really hard work using muscles that you didn’t know existed in your quads, inner thighs, knees, calves, abs, back and ass.” And did I mention ass?