I get asked fairly frequently about my own personal riding and horse owning experience so here we go. Here’s “My Horsey Life”.
I first started learning to ride when we lived in Germany and I was about 9 or 10. We were taught by, the ever so slightly scary, Herr Hase on what, I now realise, were dressage schoolmasters. We did all sorts with them but, I have to say, there wasn’t a lot of time for fun. No opportunities for charging around or heading out for hacks. It was all schooling in the indoor and, only very occasionally outdoor, arenas. I rode there for a few years but gave up after one too many experiences on Rex the Rearer.
After that I rode every now and then when the opportunity arose including some fab beach hacks when I was a student in St Andrews plus one occasion I remember well from when I was working as an au pair in Germany when I basically turned up at a stables and they just handed me a horse and said “off you go”!!
I remember a conversation soon after my husband and I met. We were talking about what we would like to be in a position to own one day. He said he’d love a LandRover and I said I’d love a horse. I often think about the conversation and am so glad that both our dreams came true.
When we moved to Dollar in the early 90’s I decided to start riding regularly again and within a couple of years I bought my first Highland mare Judy. I was very inexperienced but we had a lot of fun together, hacking out and doing some showing. I kept her on a small yard for about 6 months before bringing her home to our lovely field where she spent the rest of her days.
Judy was the first of three Highland mares I’ve owned. I have her daughter Luna who was born here in millennium year plus another mare, Gigha, who I bought as a two year old from her breeder. Somehow I managed to produce two nicely mannered ponies with very little experience of riding and handling youngsters. I honestly think I got away with it because they both have inherently nice natures. Again I did some showing plus lots of hacking and fun rides with these two until they retired.
Re-reading this paragraph I note that I’m doing something that I would pick up on in a client’s use of language – minimising my own skill! So I have to say that there MUST have been more than a little positive input from me to produce these two wonderful ponies!
Luna and Gigha are still with me and are now 23 and 26 yrs old. Neither of them is sound enough to be ridden but they will spend the rest of their lives here simply enjoying each other’s company and living a good life.
Over the years I’ve been on some great riding adventures including up and down mountains in Italy, mountain exploring deep in the Andes and riding across the Rajasthan on very skinny Marwari horses on a fundraiser for The Brooke. Last year I enjoyed a wonderful four days riding in beautiful Scottish countryside with Highlands Unbridled and plan to have more adventures in the future.
So now, whilst I own two horses, I don’t have anything of my own to ride. After Gigha and Luna retired I thought I might give up on the riding but then I started to miss it too much. I asked around and found a wonderful riding school with excellent horses and I have regular lessons from great coaches and learn something new each time I ride.
I loving developing new skills and confidence on horseback. I plan to continue riding, and having fun indefinitely and look forward to many more adventures in the future. In fact I rode just the other day on the beach at Tentsmuir with a friend and we started to plant a seed of a plan for a fun ride next year.