Some say, if you haven’t ridden a horse for years, it’s just like getting back on a bike. Personally, I think it’s easier.
Growing up in the New Forest, riding both a bike and a horse – not at the same time I hasten to add – were activities I participated in on a regular basis. Living within 150 square miles of ancient woodland and open heathland gave me plenty of opportunity to go cycling and riding whenever possible, breathing in the fresh outdoors and eyeing up the beautiful scenery.
Sometimes I would ride in the paddock – this was the case if it was a windy day or if I hadn’t been riding for a while and wanted to brush up on my skills or learn more advanced techniques. On one memorable occasion, I went horse riding in the paddock with my sister. After donning our riding hats and boots, we rode single file; she on her horse behind me on mine.
Enjoying our leisurely ride around the enclosure, I suddenly heard this ‘thump’ and turned back to see my sister sat on the muddy ground. Turns out, her horse bit my horse’s bum, who then retaliated by kicking him, knocking my sister off in the process. Fortunately, no-one was harmed and I found the incident highly amusing.
At the age of 18 I moved from the New Forest and, now having the ability to drive, relied on my motorised vehicle to get me from A to B. The change in lifestyle meant I didn’t have much need for horse riding or cycling, so I pretty much gave them up.
City living became my new focus as the years went by, but I’m still a country girl at heart and always end up going back to my roots. However, it was only really when I met my – now closest – friend that I gave cycling and horse riding another go – and it wasn’t what I had expected.
Getting back on a bike after ten years wasn’t like they say – it’s not that easy. Every twig, stone and branch I rode over, gave me a dreaded feeling that I was going to come tumbling down to the ground below. Fortunately, after about an hour, I soon picked it up and was ‘flying’ down hills at ridiculous speeds.
Horse riding, however, was a different matter entirely. As soon as I got back on a horse, sitting upright and proud, strolling through the countryside and taking in the scenery, I immediately felt at home.
In fact, it was choosing a secure riding hat that was the most difficult task out of the whole experience. Rummaging through a box of them, trying on every shape and size I could find, it took an age to find one which felt relatively comfortable and fitted correctly. There is no doubt in my mind that, if I took up riding again on a regular basis, I would make sure I buy a riding hat
which is safe and secure, guaranteeing comfort and reassurance on every ride.
Labels: boots, horse riding, New Forest, paddock, riding hat