Riding frustration

Ierapetra apovathra  My holidays in Crete are almost over, the pressure is at its high for chores that have to be done before I return to England, and my riding adventures have been a small catastrophe, with a lot of frustration from my part and a lot of disappointment from Yannis’.

For some reason, everything goes wrong, except for treats and grooming. Yannis focuses effectively on teaching his riders how to absolutely control a horse and expected to see that on me. His private-only lessons, the shape and size of his arena and the educational hacks around the area will help you realise whether you can have control of a horse; that is make it move, stop, turn and keep the pace that you want. Well, I don’t have this. If I ride alone, without Yannis or anybody else following, I will not be able to make the horse move!

Today, for example, I had my last lesson. Pamelos, an ex-racing horse was standing still while I was grooming and tacking him. He didn’t even need anybody to hold him or tie him. He was just standing there, enjoying… my “services”. He was also teasing me, kissing my butt, tingling my face thoroughly with his rich, heavy tail and biting and holding my rosary (and the skin underneath, outch). Despite the toll that his racing career claimed on his health, Pamelos is a rather energetic horse and our first lesson outside was just lovely!

Anyways, the plan was to take Pamelos out on a hack alone. A boy who volunteers at the club took Pamelos out for me and all I had to do is mount and take him on that hack. But when I managed to mount, he would go nowhere else than back inside! Eventually, the boy came with me on foot. I began trotting and the like, while Pamelos suddenly stopped close to a house with a big olive tree at the front. Behind the olive tree, someone was trying to fix their car. That’s it, he stopped and would move no further. The boy began to move around Pamelos and he was following his movement. But he was refusing to go any further beyond that spot. Eventually, we decided to go back, Pamelos being very happy about it!

Back in the school, I told Yannis what had happened and he told me that I hadn’t “worked” on the horse hard enough. But I believe that the problem is more complex. There must be something that I don’t do well and its effects are visible when I am alone on horseback. I couldn’t see that flaw in Britain, when I had group lessons. I thought I was doing fine, but apparently my horse would just follow the other horses.

I just don’t know what goes so wrong. But, hey, I will find out!

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