After several weeks of dry weather, rain started falling last week. This means more grass! As weather patterns are changing we faced a challenge to have enough grass for the horses this time of year. We have kept Darling, Jack, Spirit and Elena in the lime field paddocks close to the school and Magic and Moonlight on “holiday” in the big pasture by the fruit garden. In this way we have enough grass for all six horses while focusing on four horses further education.
In this blog you will hear from Anna who is “back in the saddle” and we will also share a video of Elena’s very first trail ride with Jonna.
We are very happy with Elenas progress.
Much sunshine and rain from Hairouna.
Kind regards Stina
Elena on her first trail ride in the fruit garden
Good job Girls!
Back in the saddle!
When I started writing this text on Saturday, the title, though horse-realted, was still going to be metaphorical. Not anymore! But let me start at the beginning.
On Saturday Jonna told me she was going to take the horses to the river and asked if I wanted to join them. I was a little bit tired after the morning beach cleanup, but I’ve seen so many pictures of our horses enjoying the river that I just had to go. Also, I’ve missed my horse lessons a lot.
Jonna took Spirit and I was going to walk Jack. The horses were nice and calm, though they got a little excited when we were passing past Magic and Moonlight in one of the fields. Then Spirit got a little stressed about some old pile of metal junk. She just wouldn’t pass it without getting agitated. I was impressed with how Jonna kept her calm and let Spirit see that there was nothing to be scared of. Jack was alert but still calm and I had to consciously relax after tensing a bit when Spirit first started her little dancing. Conviniently, that’s when Stina passed us and advised that I take Jack closer to the „monster” and let him eat some grass there; Spirit would follow his lead. That’s what we did, and in no time both horses were calm again and ready for the next part of our walk.
We got to the place where the river meets the beach and let the horses enjoy themselves. True to form, Spirit was cautious, but Jack took the opportunity to lay down and roll in the cool water. Then we went to graze a little bit before starting our journey back home.
It was a really nice re-introduction to horse lessons for me. I’ve learned a lot from the way Jonna asked horses to move, though I had a little trouble getting Jack to move forward instead of eating all the time. I like to think that I got better at that by the end of our 90-minute walk.
Then Sunday happened and I got to actually sit in the saddle – this time literally. I got Darling, who is getting used to carrying riders, while Jonna continued to work with Elena, who is just starting her career as a saddle horse. Stina was there to lead Darling for me so I got to fully relax and get used to seeing the world from horseback again. After taking a few laps in our pen, we went for a walk on the new trail in the fruit garden. Stina was still leading Darling and Jonna followed on Elena. About halfway through both Jonna and I dismounted and proceeded to walk the horses all the way. I liked both parts equally.
While riding (or seating on horseback, as the case was) is fun and exciting, and I could never have too much of it, I am also learning a lot from the ground. That’s where I build a realtionship with the horse and where I am working on my leadership skills. It’s all still a challenge to pay attention to the horse and give the right command with the right tone of voice and keeping conscious of my body language, while trying to appear I’m totally in charge – when in reality I feel like I don’t know anything. So many things to remember, and horses are really sensitive and can feel even the slightest hesitation. But I also learn to be patient, both with the horse and with myself (which is actually more difficult).
Riding starts on the ground!