Back to the riding school last night, and another new mount. Gipsy was taken, but I wasn’t disappointed for long: instead, I was given Andy, a five year old Connemara Pony. His owner described him as “maybe a bit too good for a riding school”. I’m no judge of that, but he is certainly a very comfortable horse to ride. Taller than the others (except Gipsy), he turned out to be even easier – I several times had to pull him up for trotting too fast – and he broke into a canter very willingly too. Already, he was my favourite of all the animals I had tried, but better was to come.
At the end of the lesson, we were given another try at the poles, two being set out on opposite sides of the arena, each in the middle of a long straight, requiring a jump of about a foot or so. Riding immediately behind Gipsy, I was able to see her take an easy line, turning a little to the left where rising ground made the pole lower and easier. Andy didn't waver, and actually made a small jump. After the second pole I was feeling very confident, and on the next lap I actually spurred him on for the last length or two of the approach, tucking myself low on his neck at the last second. I could feel his great shoulder muscles bunch below me, followed a moment later by a surge of acceleration as all four legs uncoiled and propelled us cleanly over the pole – easily the best jump yet!
The jump was followed by a smooth landing and the realization that riding is really becoming instinctive. Jumping is very exciting, but feels perfectly natural, and happens exactly as I had imagined it would. Further adventures beckon – can’t wait.