As children – if left to our own devices – we learned to ride instinctively, with little conscious effort. Marks out of 10 for style may have been lacking but the grins on our faces more than made up for any lack of ‘correctness’!
Falling off and scrambling back on again to some long suffering pony were unremarkable feats. That’s just what you did. No safety helmets, saddles, bridles let alone supervision – just you, the horse and a length of rope…
As a child with her first pony – best horse in the universe of course – and coming from a completely non-horsey family it was up to me to make it happen. I recall deciding one day that my pony, a 14.2hh gray mare called Cindy, was in need of livening up. I had heard from others that oats usually did the trick. She was grass-fed as a) we couldn’t afford grain and b) I would have had no idea what to give her anyway. So, unbeknownst to my mother I managed to acquire a cup or two of porridge oats and gave these to my pony – much to her surprise and delight.
The following day was pony club rally day. I attended these come rain, hail or shine. I rode to the rallies, we had no float and the pony would not get on one anyway (I had no idea how to fix this then)…
The ever patient instructor had just assembled us in a squirkle around her when I noticed the change beneath me – the oats had suddenly kicked in! To my complete astonishment my normally slower-than-continental-drift-speed like upwards transitions morphed into a stunning rodeo like explosion of pent up energy!
Two enormous bucks later I lay sprawling on the grass, sitting up to view the rear end of my rapidly departing pony, stirrups flailing, reins flying. She had decided to leave town! Cindy was caught shortly afterwards, looking very pleased with herself. No harm caused. I tried my best to keep a straight face as we were re-united by some all-knowing pony club mother tut tutting loudly at us. I clambered straight back on – as you do. She behaved as if nothing had ever happened.
I recall finding the whole event as funny as it was unexpected. I was inordinately proud of her in a reverse logic sort of way. I swear she even grew a couple of inches that day – at least in my mind!
I received an invaluable life lesson that day. All about actions and consequences.
Maybe Riding Lesson 101 = Life Lesson 101 ?
Horses – never give them up!