I am not a competitive rider.
What I love is to tack up my horse and to ride on out. Just him and me.
I am not looking to get my horse to put its right foot down, where I indicate exactly to put the right foot down. How the horse carries me is the horse’s business, I just expect to be carried safely by the horse. That’s the deal between me and My Boy.
I’ve got close contact with his mouth but he is not on a tight rein.
When we are walking along a country lane then I expect the horse between my legs to walk in an animated and regular pattern. I only seek for the horse to be comfortable and responsive.
He can look about, but no spooks, please. I‘ll do the worrying about the Bogey Man.
When we get to a long straight stretch of boring of tarmac road, I want him to trot on in the spirit of ‘Let us get it over with‘. Clip clop, clip clop.
But I want that trot to be rhythmic, straight and regular. I want us both to be in harmony.
Up down, up down. I want to feel the breeze in my face.
I want to sense his power. I want to motor on.
And if there is a moment of hesitation, maybe because a car is coming on, then I want to just hesitate and the Boy should slow. Then, when the way is clear, I want to lift up, release the brakes, and trot on.
When we reach a bridle path, even if it twists and turns I want some fun.
We will turn onto the track. I’ll lift up and the Boy will canter on.
And he will know where to put his feet, that’s not my job it’s his.
We’ll skip over those roots. We’ll take those holes in the path.
We’ll mosey on.
Then when we reach a hill, he can collect himself,
When we get to the stretch where the big stones lie, then he can shorten his pace, so as not to trip.
But Oh My, when we reach the open field, then we are off.
Fastest to the hedge over the far side is the winner.
I’ll lift up. I’ll lean over his neck and he and me will fly.
No holds are barred, The Boy can stretch his legs.
We shall go as fast as my Boy can go.
At the end I’ll reach down and I’ll stroke his neck.
My hands will rub along his mane.
I ’ll say : “Boy, that was good.” He’ll nod.
That’s a days riding for me and my mate - my faithful steed, My Boy.