Episode One

I never thought I’d ever be able to afford to own a horse! It seemed like an impossible dream. When I first met my horse I was a ‘horse loaner’ riding small and steady Gypsy ponies at a tiny livery yard but all that was to change when I received a text from my friend. “There’s a horse at our yard that needs a rider! She’s 15hh are you interested?”

“Ooh yes!! 😃” I replied, expecting it would be another ploddy type of horse. So you can imagine my surprise -and horror- when I arrived at the huge livery yard and was greeted by a very tall and sleek 16.2hh chestnut sport horse.

“I thought you said she was only 15 hands!” I hissed to my friend through my false smile.

“I just guessed!” she whispered back and then conveniently disappeared.

So there I was with the horse’s owner, her niece, her niece’s mum, her niece’s mum’s mum and a handful of other terrifyingly horsey women who all had horses at the yard and wanted to watch the proceedings.

It was a nightmare! I wanted to vomit. I’d never ridden anything like this horse in all my life I was used to pootling around on 14.2hh Gypsy Cobs!

The niece rode the horse in the arena first and I was horrified! She was like a racehorse - very nervy and stressy, snatching at the reins and she could really shift. Round and round she went like a train at top speed.

"Slow down! Whoa!" growled the niece, pulling hard on the reins. It made no difference except to curve the horse's head round to the inside while she still zoomed around the ring.

I wanted to run away but I was too embarrassed to admit my fears and where the hell had my friend gone?!

I felt like I was about to have root canal work with no anaesthetic.

The moment of doom arrived! The niece somehow managed to stop the horse without flying off which was very impressive. She dismounted and invited me into the arena.

I suddenly understood the meaning of the saying 'my heart was in my mouth' as I walked towards the horse with jelly legs.

How I managed to get on is a mystery to this day as the horse certainly did not stand still at the mounting block but instead jogged around on the spot. But suddenly I was on and I had to 'do something'. My throat felt like it was full of marbles and I was finding it difficult to swallow, it was awful.

Thank God my intuition kicked in and firmly told me to chill out, relax and ignore everyone.

So I took a deep breath and did the opposite of what my fearful mind would have suggested - I gave the horse a loose rein. Miraculously she responded! She instantly took a deep breath too, lowered her head and relaxed and walked very calmly!

The relief washed over me like a very pleasant cool shower and I was able to feel more in control of the situation.

It was really funny to hear the comments from the spectators

“Ooh look at that!”

“She must be a very experienced rider”

and other flattering yet untrue comments....

© Grace Olson 2020

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