Brit abroad... at Tokyo Riding Club!

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Brit abroad... at Tokyo Riding Club!

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  • Horseback riding tokyo
  • Tokyo riding school

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    11-04-2009, 10:15 AM
Talking Brit abroad... at Tokyo Riding Club!

Hi! Okay, so I'm new around here.. and decided I should write something here, because it might make an interesting blog... maybe!

I'm from Manchester, UK. But from this September, I've been living in Japan for a year, and have landed myself a parttime job as a stable hand at Tokyo Riding Club! The yard specialises in dressage, which, at the moment, isn't exactly my most knowledgable area. But, I'm learning!
So thought I'd write some of my experiences here, incase anyone cares!!

Anyway first, a bit of background info....
I rode quite a lot when I was younger, but during highschool I stopped for a while (combination of lack of time & several bad experiences!)
But about a year and a half ago, I decided to join my University's Equestrian club, and start up again more regularly and a little more seriously.
After a few years out of the saddle though I didn't have much confidence in my riding ability, and there were times when I questioned why I had bothered re-starting again.
But then... along came Toffee!!

She was a 4 year old that belonged to the riding school my club rode at. Aside from being a little bit of a follower (buddy sour? I think is the term!), her behaviour was really amazing for her age! I rode her a lot over the last year or so, and she went from being a follow-the-leader pony to us taking the lead on hacks out with no problems whatsoever. I trusted her absolutely 100%. She basically taught me to ride again and I loved her more than anything.
Then, just before I left for Japan, Toffee was sold :(
I was really gutted, and that, plus saying goodbye to her when I left = me never crying so much in my life.
Alot of my friends (ie the ones that don't ride!) didn't understand and thought it was weird. But I loved Toffee so much and it was really hard to let go. But deep down I know now that Toffee & I had come as far as we could, and its time for me to move on.
...Which is hopefully what I'm going to do this year at Tokyo Riding Club!

Horse riding lessons in Japan are VERY expensive, so I'm working two days a week voluntarily, with a free lesson each day.
The hours are quite long (7.30am- 5.45pm) and my main duties are cleaning (mucking out the stalls, sweeping the yard etc) and washing the horses down after they come in from the school. Hardwork, but worth it when I get to ride some of the amazing dressage horses at the yard!
This time I promised myself I wouldn't get attached to any of the horses, because it hurt so much when I had to say goodbye to Toffee.
Within 5 minutes, I was in love!

This time it's a 9 year old chestnut 16hh(ish) gelding, named North McQueen. He's very handsome, and a real gentlemen!
We met when I did my first duty at TRC, cleaning up his poo! He came over straight away and burried his head in my arm. So cute! Later on it was him that I had my first lesson on- fate! So yep, I'm attached already!!! <3

I've never ridden dressage before, so I'm not sure what the style is like in England, but the style here is slightly different from what I'm used to. In the UK I mainly ride rising trot (posting trot to those in the USA) but here its mostly sitting. The paces are also a lot slower & feel more controlled, though I think this is a general characteristic of dressage, no? I'm enjoying learning some things about this discipline anyway.
The horses are also a lot different than what I'm used to.
With the horses at TRC all being competition horses, and some ex-racers, they are more 'highly strung' than I'm used to. I rode an ex-racer last week, and it went very well, but this week he was having none of it, after a scare from a passerby, and was doing everything within his power to get me off. (Sadly for him, he failed *smug*)
I don't know... maybe I'm just used to the places I've ridden in the UK, where all the horses are dozey sweethearts. But I'm seeing it as a challenge!
A challenge that maybe I'll update on here, if anyone wants to hear more of my adventures!
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    11-04-2009, 05:17 PM
Originally Posted by northmcqueen    
I've never ridden dressage before, so I'm not sure what the style is like in England, but the style here is slightly different from what I'm used to. In the UK I mainly ride rising trot (posting trot to those in the USA) but here its mostly sitting. The paces are also a lot slower & feel more controlled, though I think this is a general characteristic of dressage, no? I'm enjoying learning some things about this discipline anyway.

I'm trying to teach my former showjumping 6 year old to do some basic Dressage, yes the paces are slower and you would do more sitting trot - you're supposed to do all sitting trot in tests.

Sounds like a great place to be!!
    11-05-2009, 03:51 AM
Haha my sitting trot sucks at the moment! Hopefully it will improve
    11-06-2009, 04:56 PM
I finally learned how to do sitting trot on a lesson years ago, when the instructor made us do rising trot for ages - my legs were knackered, so I did sitting trot and because I let my legs dangle all of a sudden OMG I'm doing proper sitting trot!!! I try to remember that sensation to this day and it really helps me to keep my seat in the saddle.

    11-10-2009, 06:19 AM
Baaaaaaaaaad stable manners, dude.

Well... I don't really have much to report other than that this week I got to ride some awesome horses.
The other day I got put on a grey mare called Jasmine. She is literally one of the most beautiful horses i've ever seen :P
Someone had warned me she was evil LOL, but she was really nice for me. Also learnt a few dressage moves (all this dressage stuff is new to me) and managed to actually get the horse to DO the moves first time of asking. Small achievement but i'm pleased with myself

Today I rode a horse called Toshu. He was one of the nicest horses I've ever ridden. (Really nice canter!!!) BUT.
And its a big but.
He is an absolute nightmare on the ground. Especially in the stable.
The other day, for example, I was washing him down, and he obviously wasn't enjoying it and got a bit nasty. But in his stable? Oh my god. He charges, bites, kicks. All eyes, you know.
I wouldn't MIND if it was just the occasional agitated nip on the shoulder (you know the type where you scold them, they look all innocent, and never learn their lesson )
It's not. He full on goes for your face. Its not like its just me (at first I thought maybe he just took a dislike to me haha), he's the same way with everyone.
Theres a couple of horses like that over here. But he seems to be the most extreme.
I mean, I've seen it alot the other way round- the ones that are sweet as pie on the ground, but a nightmare to ride. He's the first I've seen like this. Don't know, maybe like I said in my first post I'm just used to how lovely and uncaring the horses in Manchester are!
As Toshu isn't my horse, i'm really limited what I can DO. But why should I put up with nearly losing my face for absolutely NO reason for the next year huh? Huh? HUH?!?!?
So any advice is appreciated! :)
    11-10-2009, 07:41 AM
My horse was attacking me in the stable like that! It was a dominance issue tho' so I did Join-Up with him and he's much better now
    11-15-2009, 10:07 AM
Its been raining ridiculously in Japan all week, so on Saturday when I was working, most of the customers had cancelled. Meaning nothing to do.
Other than... ride North McQueen!
Which I did
There is little land here in Japan, so horses aren't turned out the same as they are in England (and, I'm guessing, America..) So obviously Northy was very excited to be out and about! Very fresh!
But I'll forgive him, because when we weren't in the school, he seemed all sad and down He was very clingy too, following me round the stable with his head glued to my shoulder, and getting noisey when I went away. Poor baby, hope he's feeling happier this week

Anyway, lack of customers was a photo opportunity....

North McQueen <3

dressage, horses, japan, tokyo riding club

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