Riding in circles

In Opinion

As I’ve said before, in “Meeting the family”, it took me quite a while to be trusted enough to be introduced to the horsey family. It took me even longer to actually see Sam ride one of the beasts…so long, in fact, I was starting to think she didn’t actually ride them but lived among them, a bit like the jungle book with less singing!!

Although it was always a joy to spend an….inexplicable amount of time shoveling horse muck, filling water buckets and getting covered in shavings, I felt I needed to see the fruits of my labour! The day finally came when Sam actually got on a horse whilst I was at the yard. I decided to down tools and go see what the obsession is all about!

Having snuck into the indoor arena, thankfully without spooking a horse (I must be a ninja!), I settled down to watch the show. Sam started with an easy trot round the arena…part of a warm up I assumed, before going into a circle the width of the arena. It was an impressive circle! Nice and round. On the back of that she went into another circle…well it would be difficult to top the last one but I guess practice makes perfect! After the 10th circle I could, only assume today was circle day! Just as I was starting to consider what I thought constituted a good circle, everything changed…I was introduced to the figure of 8! Things were getting interesting. My excitement was short lived however and I should have anticipated the next move. Circles going in the other direction! As when people go to the gym and work on a specific thing…this was definitely circle day.

After my initiation into watching Sam riding I was presented with a rare opportunity to go and watch Sam at an actual lesson. Last time she must have been shown the circle thing, this time could be anything!! So, with the chosen steed loaded up, me praying I don’t need to prop up another horse (ye…don’t want another outing like “Wagon Worries”!), off we went. I’m not sure where we ended up, think I fell asleep, but we were in a very nice yard with lots of dogs running around. I decided I was best qualified to stay quietly out the way and get mobbed by the dogs!

Finding a nice bench to sit with my new canine friends I was ready to get my head around the fine details of dressage. Sam and Crunchie started by, you guessed it, a circle! Far enough, he had to make sure the circles were round enough for his liking! After a few more circles I started to listen to his instruction. Apparently some circles were good leading to a complimentary “You actually look something close to a dressage rider now!” but others brought a less impressed “That was more of a pear shape than a circle!”. His standards for a circle must be much higher than mine! Round and round and round she went, being told to do this or that all of which looked like a circle! The odd figure of 8 thrown in so they don’t get dizzy.

Thankfully Sam came out smiling and saying it went really well…apparently there was a lot more going on than the circles I was seeing! Hopefully I’ll be able to see a lot clearer with more practice!

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