As many of you know by now, I'm new to riding, and what I really need is practice, practice practice. One or two lessons a week isn't really enough for me and I'm looking for more opportunities to ride.
Yesterday I was once again helping my friend Charlie groom her horse Luca, and we discussed the possibilities of loaning a horse. I thought it would be very expensive and you'd have to commit to several months at once.
A horse on working livery costs £29/week plus farrier bills, worming etc. If the horse is on working livery, then they are used in lessons and so on. Not a good option if you're a good rider wanting a good horse to work on specific things with, but if you're a total beginner like me it's not a problem. This is affordable for me and even if I continue to have one or two lessons a week, it's good value for money in comparison to private lessons.
I would be taking one of the stables' regular school horses on loan. I don't know how often I'd get to ride them (obviously they'll be used in lessons and all) but I plan to investigate that thoroughly. I'd love it if I'd be able to get Charlie Brown, the horse I'm riding in my lessons, but I didn't see his name on the noticeboard yesterday. Still, I can ask!
To be able to take a horse on loan, you need to be able to tack up, lead, and ride safely at walk trot and canter in the arena. I'm not sure what the other requirements are. The horse is fully taken care of by the stables - I don't have to manage his feeding regimene or muck him out, and he gets exercised when I'm not available. I'm not at that stage yet (though I helped Charlie tack up Luca and she showed me how to lead correctly and all, so I'm learning all that stuff :)) but I may be before the end of the summer. I go back to university at the very very end of September.
What I'm going to do is talk to my regular instructor about when I'd be ready to loan a horse and what it would involve. My lesson tomorrow (first in nearly three weeks!) isn't with her, but oh well. The worst she can say is that it won't be for quite a while and I'll have to wait until the Christmas or Easter holidays. However, if I'm lucky and work really hard and manage to squeeze in lots of lessons, I may be able to have a few weeks at the end of August/start of September with a horse on loan!
If I can, this'll be a great opportunity for me, and also a test run to see if I will want to loan a horse next summer.