So I guess the beginning always is a very good place to start.
For some reason: still unknown to me, I decided to have a horse riding lesson. I had been on a horse once many many years ago and that had been a fleeting and terrifying experience. So who knows why the urge struck when it did.
I googled horse riding schools, found one nearby and phoned eagerly to book my first lesson. I was disappointed to find out that I would have to wait 2 weeks before I could start but I booked it all the same.
So two weeks later off I popped in my fake Jack Wills jodhpurs and my Hunter wellies, feeling as if I totally looked the part. They fitted me with a riding hat and found me a 16.3hh horse. Thinking back now that was a tad big, but I didn’t know any better back then so I blindly jumped on.
My riding instructor taught me the basics; walk, trot, canter, jump. And most importantly: stop. Any of you who have had riding lessons will know that at this level the horse listens more to the instructor than to the rider and preempts your every move. It’s a huge confidence boost. I soon got fed up with riding in circles and was disappointed to find out that they did not offer hacking. Feeling like I knew it all I decided I could handle anything. Back then I was completely oblivious to the dangers of horse riding and would have happily got on anything.
This was when the fateful internet struck again…”how much does it cost to keep a horse?” Yes, I did my research which is more than many people I know. I did the maths, and did the maths and then did it all again and I worked out that I could afford to keep one…but you never know just how much they will cost you. But more on that at a later date.
So I found a horse, on loan…a 16.3 thoroughbred.
Oh how naive I was!
His name was Percy, he had done nothing but hunt his whole life and the owner was more than happy to deliver. I rode home twice before I decided on him. Knowing what I know now; I never would have got on him! I blindly hopped on without even asking the owner to ride him first. My friend was provided with another horse and off we went on a hack, in the middle of the country where we knew no one. I felt comfortable on him but I suppose i did not really know what I was looking for…