As I had figured, my instructor had already forgotten about keeping me on Murphy for a while. Well, that or she wasn’t able to use him for our lesson today. Either way, I ended up with Sammy, the other Irishman in the stables. I think this was the first time since our not-so-successful lesson together between Christmas and New Year’s, when too little exercise + cold weather + firecrackers had Sammy what felt like half a meter above ground for much of the lesson. As a result, I was feeling a teensy bit nervous, and given the cold weather & snow I was expecting some friskiness today as well.
We had two extra students in the group today, making up for lessons they had missed, and as a result there was 10 of us. That’s the max allowed in a group, and it does get a little crowded in the arena. However, it also means a good selection of horses available. Additionally, our instructor didn’t quite feel like assigning the horses today, so she just listed the horses we would be using, and asked who wanted which horse. In some cases, two or three people wanted the same horse, but oddly enough I was the only one who wanted Murphy. I do love it when I take a liking to a less than popular horse. ;)
A little late, this, but I was unusually tired after the riding yesterday and the task of writing up my usual lesson post seemed far to great. So, I put it off until today. I think I still remember most of what we did, however. It was another jumping lesson, and as I had expected I was put on Murphy. While tacking him up, I decided to try out some of the stuff we discussed last week, about how to ensure the horse really does defer to you as the leader. So, I insisted that he move his shoulders away from me when I entered his stall. This seemed to work quite well, and he responded by chewing to indicate he was submitting. So far, so good. Saddling him was quite painless too, and once down in the arena he only considered trying to take a bite out of me once and he stood perfectly still as I mounted up. A definitive improvement.
Time for a theory lesson today (which means that I am suffering riding withdrawal at the moment, and will continue to do so for the coming week), and we continued with the same subject as the last two theory classes: horse behaviour. Having observed a few of the ponies interact with each other in the arena, as well as one of the ponies interacting with us, the time had come to discuss the stable manners of some of our horses.
Today, I would not have minded continuing with Malupin, considering how well things went last week, but I still can’t say I was disappointed when I was assigned to Murphy. We were going to continue with the same type of exercises, and I knew that would be quite effective on him as well if done correctly. While we were signing in and getting our horses handed out, my instructor also mentioned that she’d found a horse she thought I’d like. Apparently someone at a nearby stable had asked her to find a buyer for a horse they had there, and she seemed to think it would suit me. Very, very tempting. A 6-year-old black Knabstrup gelding. Fortunately, a tad too tall for me at 159 cm, because at 50,000 it didn’t sound all that bad. And hey, its nice to know my instructor feels a horse of my own would be a good idea for me. She asked again later on, and I admitted I was very tempted, but at the moment I am not sure where I’d find a stable near enough to where we live given that the one that used to be here was taken down to make room for a clubhouse for a golf club. And I hear golfers don’t much appreciate it when you ride across the green. ;P
Today, we had a substitute instead of our regular instructor, as she was feeling less than well after extracting a wisdom tooth earlier in the day. Ouch. As usual, that (the substitute, not the tooth business, though I really dislike dentists) made me a little nervous, and being assigned Malupin didn’t make it better since this would be his first class for the day. I was told he’d at least spent some time outside, however, and hoped that would have been enough to use up some of the extra energy he was bound to have considering the cold weather and all the snow. Still, he seemed to be in a bit of a testy mood, both as I tacked him up and when I was preparing to mount up. Apparently some of the other horses had been like that the last days too, so it might be the weather, or something hormonal.
Last week, there was four of us. This week, we were nine (though that was one extra, I think, over what we’ll actually be from now one). Quite a change, and not ideal for a jumping lesson. Even if all the horses play nice, it always takes time to get through that many people. However, since I was assigned Murphy, I was in far too good a mood to be concerned with such trivial matters. ;) As he had some food left (and thus something else to chew on than me), tacking him up went quite well. He’s definitely getting the idea that a stern look and a little ... growl of sorts means he should lay off threatening me, and he didn’t even come close to trying to nip today. He just thought about it a lot, heh. I noticed one odd thing while getting him ready; his halter fastened on the right instead of the left side. I thought someone might have turned it outside in, but it looked okay, so once down in the arena I asked the instructor. Turns out Malupin (his left-side neighbour) had learned how to undo his halter even through the new bars that separate them, and Murphy is the last horse they want loose in the stable as he literally wrecks the place. Such a sweetie.
Today was the first lesson of a new semester, and as always one thing weighed heavily on my mind: the weigh-in. I wasn’t sure if I had managed to drop the extra pounds put on over Christmas, and if not I’d have to starve myself a little more until next week. Fortunately, I was in for a pleasant surprise. My weight was still within the ‘E’ range (55-60 kg), which means I’ll be able to ride Murphy even if they do drop him from F to E again. This is particularly important now that it turns out our group will be kept in this timeslot, but we’ll get four or five junior (below 18) riders added. They’re apparently all fairly young, so probably pretty small and light. If I had weighted in as an F, that might have meant missing out on Murphy more often than not.
Today I had my last extra lesson for the holidays, and again I found myself cheated out of Murphy. The instructor started saying his name, then realized she’d actually put me down for Gamir. Gah. My nerves had mostly recovered since Tuesday, but I still really wanted to ride Murphy. I requested him four times, and only managed to get him once, and that does make me a bit annoyed. Unfortunately, my mood wasn’t improved as I realized that we wouldn’t be having my regular instructor, but rather then senior instructor at the riding school. Don’t know if they changed, or if I got it wrong when I signed up, but that was definitely a surprise I could have done without. Although she’s a highly qualified instructor and and a lot of people like her, I have never been able to ride well for her. Partly because she never seems to understand just how frightened I get in some situations and on some horses, and partly because her style of instruction just doesn’t work for me.
After yesterday’s ... trials, I was feeling decidedly jittery before today’s lesson, and before the horses had been handed out I was very tense and apprehensive. Fortunately, I did get Murphy today, and that immediately settled my nerves. I knew he’d be bomb-proof even if the other horses decided to act up today as well.
Bit overdue, but I am officially knackered after a very long day. You see, I had the brilliant idea of booking two riding lessons the same day, one at 13.30 and one at 18.00, and deciding that I could just as well stay at the stable between the two. Hah. Never again. At least not in fricking December, with a bitingly cold wind chilling me to the bone, and at least not when I have two more lessons (tomorrow and Friday) to go this week.
No Murphy again today, as I had hoped I would get, but finally getting a chance to ride Sammy again was almost as good. Sammy, or Plain Sam as he’s properly named (his sire, btw, is Diamond Lad, who was a pretty well-known Irish stallion), is another of our Irish gentlemen (and, in contrast to Murphy, he’s actually a real gentleman), and currently the oldest horse in the stable at eighteen. He’s been at the riding school for eleven years and he’s an old favourite of mine, so I am always glad when I get a chance to ride him, as he is usually used for the lower groups these days. Partly because he’s so well-behaved, and partly because he only takes lighter riders due to some old injuries.
Over the last few days, I have been more than a little depressed, and today was particularly bad. If I hadn’t had the riding to look forward to, I might just have stayed in bed. Fortunately, I didn’t, and when I got the the stables I was thoroughly cheered up by being told that I’d get to ride Murphy. It couldn’t have happened on a better day, and I did not let his attempts to have my nose off with his teeth deter me even one bit. Especially not since a girl who was new to our group (she usually rides the last class of the day, and was probably only making up for a missed class) commented that she thinks we look so good together whenever she’s seen me ride him.
After finishing what I hope is the almost-final version of my paper, I was (as always after concentrating on some work for a long while) feeling very tired today, but I still dragged myself to the stable. Jumping was on the menu, and I was kind of expecting to get Murphy. But, no. Instead, I ended up getting Gamir, which admittedly isn’t such a bad deal. He’s probably the most well-schooled horse in the stable, and a pretty darn fabulous jumper. There’s just one small problem with him: he hates, and I do mean hates, being saddled.
Today it was, unfortunately, time for a theory lesson. I haven’t been feeling great the last days, so I could have used 45 minutes of horse therapy, but at least I got to be in the stable and say hello to Murphy. Oh, and I did get some good news: there was a cancellation for the jumping lesson during Christmas, so I’m in. That means four lessons in one week between Christmas and New Year, and likely a very sore Linda.