Hello, HF Community! Iím a very long-time lurker, and Iíve recently felt inspired to come out of the shadows and contribute by journaling. I created this username several years ago and, while I donít regret the Harry Potter reference
, I certainly donít want to be called some version of ďHippoĒ, so please call me Ariel
. Iím from New England and in my late 20s.
What brings me to the forum on an almost-daily basis is, inevitably, my passion for horses - a passion discovered regrettably late - in 2015 when I was in my mid-20s. Iím not currently, though do aim to someday be, a horse owner. Iím in a lesson program, and I have part-leased in the past. I ride hunt seat, and the lessons have mostly catered towards H/J, though I have had trainers that dapple with dressage and always have had a strong focus on flat work.
Iím now in my upper-20s, and Iíve calculated that I have put in about 220 hours of saddle time. On a very subjective rating scale, Iíd consider myself an ďadvanced beginnerĒ, or perhaps a better description would be ďwise foolĒ. I read and research incessantly to improve my riding and to help satiate my obsession with riding, but making my body match what I know in theory has not yet panned out. I was in a group lesson marked ďintermediateĒ at a previous barn, but my anxieties related to both natural anxiety/hesitancy and 2 rough falls have kept me at a level that I would definitely not
label intermediate. I have loved reading posts and journals by other beginners and non-owners (it is such a different world, in some ways), so I hope some may enjoy my journal for a similar purpose.
Perhaps of significance is that I, whenever possible, ride ponies. Iím 4í11Ē (on a good day), and much prefer the level of control I feel at 14.2 and under. (Plus, itís nice to be able to reach their heads for bridling, and backs for saddling.) I may be too old by 2 decades for Pony Club, but I can pretend. (If only I could get away with wearing those adorable ribbons, too!) So, where am I now in my riding?
I take weekly lessons at a lovely barn that caters to English riders. I moved to this barn in February 2019 after a tough decision to leave my last barn due to the atmosphere no longer being the best fit for me. My new trainer is a brilliant eventer, and has been working to correct a few flaws - namely, the need to keep my hands down and legs back - Iíve picked up. All lessons are WTC, but though Iíve come a long way, my canter still needs a lot of work and confidence building.
Iím mostly riding a 13.2 Pinto pony mare who actually captured my heart years ago (including a lease), Sundae (the Princess Pony). Maybe in another post Iíll go into my history with her, to avoid making this too long. I also occasionally ride Scarlet, a 14.2 chestnut Quarter Pony.
My current goal at this point is to begin jumping with confidence - Iíve popped over a few low jumps in the past from a trot, but was nervous the entire way. I find courses of ground poles/low crossrails extremely fun, so intend to pursue this now for enjoyment and the thrill of one or two local shows. Iím competitive by nature, and the show environment is something Iíve enjoyed greatly in the past (WT classes; just schooling and C-level), though finances prevent any sort of regular showing for now.
Iím also planning to enter grad school in 2020, so leasing is also financially off-the-table. This journal is an attempt to feel closer to riding, even when my actual saddle time is limited. Sneak Peeks on What This Journal May Include
- Lesson Updates: Updates from my weekly lessons such as what I worked on, how I felt, improvements, and what needs work.
- The Past: Reflections on how I got here and past show and lease experiences.
- Fitness, Mental Health, and Grad School: As they relate to my riding.
Thank you for taking the time to read my first journal entry. I welcome comments and, when applicable in the future, tips and constructive criticism.
I will leave you with a few pictures of Sundae and I - the first is my favorite picture with her, the second is from just 2 weeks ago (please excuse her ****y face).