Written by Olivia Cox
We ride and work all around the farm, not just the round pen. Olivia is working around a flower pot!
I’ve been attending riding lessons at Blue Rock Horses for about two years. It’s been really fun and I’ve grown to love horses.
But why bother with horses anyway? What’s so good about horses? First of all, horses are beautiful, fast, strong, intelligent, and friendly. Horses can teach you many things, such as responsibility, self-control, patience, teamwork, leadership, cooperation, strength, diligence, and probably a whole lot more. Horseback riding is good exercise, and working with horses makes you strong, confident, and gives you a lifelong friend.
This exercise Olivia is doing looks easy, but it is hard work to sit still, lean forward and keep your balance. She did touch High Hope's nose, good going, Olivia!
Mrs. Bricker and her siblings trade off duties visiting her mother, and my sister and I take turns taking lessons, so my lessons are usually not very consistent. But I still benefit from them. Can you benefit from part-time lessons? Yes, you can, but expect it to take a little longer. Fewer lessons also give you some time to look in to other things (horses are wonderful, but there is also room in our lives for other interests).
What I am currently learning is how to post, to the trot. The trot is very bumpy, and it can be uncomfortable to ride a trotting horse. If you rise slightly out of the saddle at every beat of the trot, it can be more comfortable. That is called posting. Although it seems easy, it’s harder than it sounds. While learning to post, I have to make sure I am posting to the rhythm of the trot, and also make sure High Hope will keep trotting. I also have to keep my heels down, my knees in, my back straight, my chin up, and my hands above High Hope’s withers. It is hard work, but Mrs. Bricker tells me that it will all become automatic. I think the sitting trot (a gentle trot that does not require posting) is easier. Next, I think I want to learn the lope, or canter, which is faster, smoother, and probably a lot more fun.
I usually practice posting in a round arena, so High Hope can trot in a circle. I will usually start out walking, then ask High Hope to trot when I’m ready. She might stop, stumble, ro shy, or even refuse to trto, so I have to work to make her trot all the way around the ring. Rising out of the saddle is not hard, just doing it at the right moment. I’ve found that it is a little easier to post when High Hope trots quickly, because the movement kind of throws me out of the saddle. I will often change directions, and take High Hope around the circle clockwise or counterclockwise. High Hope likes to trot, and is pretty agreeable during these lessons.
When it is over, we will take High Hope to the trailer, take off her saddle and bridle, put on her halter, brush her, put on her fly mask (if it’s buggy), and put her back in the pen. Of course, we never forget to pet her and tell her that she’s a good girl. Everyone deserves praise every now and then.
Our students always do some bareback riding as well. It is a great way to feel the movements of the horse. Here they are riding double. Look carefully at Anna Kate. See her big smile? It is more comfortable in the back. If it is any help, Olivia, when I was your age I had to ALWAYS ride in the front too!