In this blog I would like to share with you more from our journey to become better riders and bring joy to our riding.
Learning to ride again is an interesting process. I have ridden a lot before in my life but when I rescued this herd of wild horses I stopped riding. I was fascinated learning their language, the life in the horse herd and conquering liberty training skills.
All of a sudden years had passed and I started to become interested in riding again. Would I ever be able to ride these “crazy” horses?
I would not ride unless we had joy and connection while riding. It had to be a two way street with mutual pleasure. One of the first challenges was to find the right help. I started in the beginning of 2014 searching for working students who were into riding along with a good riding teacher. It took some time and finally towards the end of 2014, Gabriel and I found each other. Gabriel is a professional riding instructor from Hungary who decided to take some months at our small horse school and help us get started. I was also able to find an amazing working student, Lisa from Sweden, who was very skillful in riding, had abundant of patience and a solid background in horse training. Our riding program was set for some serious progress.
In between lessons on my own horses I also took lessons on other people’s horses. It took me some time to want to have lessons on other horses because I did not have any connection with them. I chose a couple of places where the owners were very serious about their horses welfare. The first lesson I took was at a dressage stable in Barbados and then later on at a stable in Mustique. The horses I rode were very different from mine, they were well trained, calm and gave good lessons. They had developed good muscles and accepted their job. The instructors were passionate and I learnt new riding skills.
My own horses are still green, have lots of opinions, not much routine and are very spirited and alive. Having much spirit is ofcourse a good thing, but when I was getting back into riding it surely was helpful with some good calm riding horses with lots of routine….
My big question was always; How do I keep this “wildness” and “fiery” horses with all their personalities and could we also enjoy a ride together… The other people’s horses were not “wild” they were quite obedient, but still very well taken care of. I needed to learn how to find the balance that would work for me and my horses.
The schooled horses helped me with my confidence and also to understand the signals I needed to learn to communicate better with my own horses. I was going to train them without having much routine myself and that is also not the best way to train green horses. We are now one year into riding and Jack, Darling and Elena all have some routine. We can do good trail rides in walk and some trot and they all really enjoy the rainforest and beach trails.
What I liked about Gabriel’s lessons was that he took us through many theory lessons and could answer most of the questions I had. He was like a walking horse encyclopedia. Every now and then he would ask the horses to step out of their comfort zones, but he would not overstep. If we had doubts whether the horses could or could not do an exercise, we always gave the benefit of the doubt and did not continue. The riding lessons were usually less than 10-15 minutes and we rode twice a day. Gabriel would ask me and Lisa very often step out of our comfort zones with the number of squats, balance and stretching exercises he asked us to do.
At this point we will canter a bit if the horses offer it on the trail. We have all the time in the world. Jonna replaced Lisa as working student in April and the progress continues step by step. Even Magic and Spirit have progress and will eventually be out on the trail as well. I have to say that I am very happy with Jonna’s work, the horses love her and they even enjoy going on trail rides with Jonna all alone. This is a big step for the horses who always have been together with other family members. Jonna has endless patience and is very dedicated.
This week I went on a trail ride with a group of friends at another stable. Part of the trail was to go into the water with the horses. This was a nice experience and it was easy to tell the horses enjoyed it too.
I would really like to ad this to our riding program and I could imagine most of my horses like the idea of offering a swim at Richmond Beach. Perhaps we can try introducing it during the upcoming Sahaja Clinic!
Enjoy a couple of more photos from our journey. I would love to hear from your riding journey.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful weekend.
Kind regards Stina