March 2015 has been an exciting month for me; I went to my first para dressage show, I am probably going to next week’s dressage show at Trent Valley, and today I had my first equitation exam.
So, today I woke up quite excited. I had a healthy breakfast with yogurt, honey and oats, did my workout, got dressed (wearing that polo-neck blouse to keep myself nice and tall in the saddle), picked my whip and got out. No stress, just happiness and pleasant impatience.
But this changed, as I went to the hall’s shop to grab some healthy snacks. The shopkeeper asked me whether I felt nervous. And then I felt it; how would I demonstrate ten months of work to foreign people? I learned the first basics at home, in a different environment, on different horses and I had to do these things differently. And, yes, I admit it, that I wanted my 10-month experience to be visible comparing to the other beginners having 4 months of experience. And, no matter how selfish it seems, I was feeling quite anxious about that as well.
So, with my psychology changed for the worse I ran for the bus and then for the train station. I can say that for once more, I felt that I looked like a terrorist to some. As always. Is it because I’m foreign? Or is it because the whip is long and red (which many men connect to… well, naughty things and tease me all the time)? Maybe the fact that I can’t sit still for too long? Whatever it is, the station process feels unconfortable every time, with security officers checking on me discretely and passengers looking at me funny. I hope they will feel safer once I start insulting each person that treats me like that. Because I’ve had enough of it already.
Anyways, I had my tablet with me (a potentially explosive device, for some, I guess, as they went even crazier when they saw me pulling it out of my bag) and read a bit for my Grand Strategy essay, until my peers arrived. As we were heading to Trent Valley, I was feeling more and more nervous. And the thing is that I couldn’t concentrate on my reading and forget about it, since the ladies around me were gossiping. So I just enjoyed the trip.
Finally, we made it to the centre, sorted out ourselves, got the horses and did all we had to do; taking the horse out from the stable and leading it to the arena, fixing the girth and stirrups unmounted, mounting, checking and fixing the girth and stirrups mounted, walking, dismounting, leading the horse accross the arena. Between mounting and dismounting, we had also the chance for a lesson, that went well for me. A big problem for today’s trot was the stirrups again and the fact that I couldn’t sit properly on the saddle, but thankfully Laura fixed it for me. Today I had Ben, a quite willing horse. But as I was nervous hence clumsy, he got impatient, starting hitting his legs on the ground.
The good news is that we all passed the test. But, since we, humans learn from our mistakes, today all the class -including me- learned that, when we lead a horse, it is important to keep his head away from our body.
PS: I can’t figure out which equestrian body will award us the certificates. I will know in a few weeks, when I get mine. But, after a search I suspect it’s the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS). But, as I said, I’m not sure.