Thursday, August 25, 2005

Picking up the pace

Last night, we had our best riding lesson so far. We were a small group this time – myself and Miss C, plus two friends, although the lesson was shared by two young children (perhaps 8 and 10 years old).

On this occasion, I rode Sky, a good cob, big and white with some grey on the legs. Now, up until recently, our lessons had begun to get rather dull – lots of walking interspersed with sitting, rising and standing trots, and the occasional hack around the surrounding fields.

Tonight, however, the walking and trotting were merely a warming-up for the main event: we all turned in from our circuit and stood in a semi-circle facing our instructor, who then talked us out, in ones and twos, to practice cantering. I went first: Sky stepped out smartly in response to my heels, moving up to a trot, and then, almost immediately, into a canter. This pace is quite different from the trot – much faster, and also much smoother, although I had not thought so the previous week (I compared it afterwards to the motion of a speedboat heading into choppy waves).

This time, I was much more relaxed, sat back in the saddle and found myself rising and falling with the horse, rather than bouncing against its back. Very exhilarating, to be moving so quickly, with such sensation of powerful movement – I found myself grinning broadly, perfectly comfortable and secure, and even encouraging Sky to greater efforts with mild instruction from my crop.

We took turns cantering: and we all did pretty well. Even our instructor seemed very pleased, and took a much more active interest in our riding than previously – I think the walking and trotting bored him at least as much as it had begun to bore us. So, a very exciting and instructive evening, which seems to promise future adventure…

I wonder what it feels like to gallop?

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