Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved horses. I’ve always ridden whenever I could, and was that 13 year old girl who was obsessed with riding and had all the horse books. Sadly, I lived in the suburbs, so though I would ride any chance I got, that wasn’t all that often. Unlike a lot of little girls who love My Little Pony and those endless series of pony books, I never grew out of that love, so I’m super psyched that living in Vancouver I can get regular lessons at last.
I take lessons down in Southlands, though there are also some great schools in Burnaby and Langley. I first rode when I was about 4 or 5 on a Shetland pony called Truffles in the Great Ocean Road area of Victoria, Australia, and have since ridden trails in the forest of New South Wales, the West Bank, East and London’s Hyde Park. I even broke my arm once falling of a close friend’s ex-racehorse Mij when I was 12, which at the time made me feel kinda proud of myself, because now I had my first injury, like an experienced rider. (The pain didn’t kick in til I got home from the hospital later that night). I learned a lot, but I didn’t have formal lessons. I’ve always tried to read a lot about horses, but a lot of what you need to know is experiential, especially to do with riding itself. Sure I can most likely tell you a thoroughbred from a quarter horse and name the parts of the saddle and the “points” of the horse, but my dismount and halt are anything but graceful!
Then, earlier this year, when I joked to my boyfriend that I wanted a pony for my birthday, he sort of got me one. ha ha! He arranged for me to take a trail ride at this great place, and told me that he talked to them about taking lessons with them, and honestly, I cried a little bit. A few years back I felt like I might never get that dream of spending time around horses and riding them all the time. And now here I am, riding a pony. Honey is the lesson horse that I learn from, usually, and, since she’s a petite girl, like me, she is actually a pony. I have a bit of a “pony crush” on her, because she’s always patient with me and calm, and she doesn’t mind a few hugs along the way.
I don’t always ride Honey. Above you can see me on Galabea, who is a lot taller than my pony friend. It was a little scary riding her, because she’s much more energetic than Honey and it’s also a long way down from up there, but she also has a lovely personality. This was the first lesson where I managed to tack up almost totally alone. (Tacking up it putting on the saddle and bridle, it’s fairly easy but can be a little tricky til yoy get the hang of it)
It’s funny, but doing these lessons has made me feel more at home than anything since I moved here a year ago. I feel like it’s really built my confidence and helped me find a solid core again. It’s funny how little things can be big things. Either way, I’m just starting out and I’m learning more and growing all the time.