This week we have a special guest post from one our Riding Centre regulars, Lesley Simpson, who is dying to spread the word about the joys of riding…
“As a portly 50-something woman, I thought that our Riding Centre manager, Liz Simpson, was joking when she kept asking me when I’d be calling over to the Riding Centre for a lesson. Maybe it was the shock of realising that Liz was being perfectly serious that gave me the impetus to try.
That was about 18 months ago and I’ve now fallen in love with riding; hook, line and sinker. More specifically, I’ve fallen for Donald – a 7 year old coloured Cob who stands at an impressive 16 hands.
Donald and I started off slowly, building mutual trust whilst covering all the basics; mounting, dismounting, correct use of the reins, safety, steering and the like, before progressing to walk, trot and even canter. Throughout all of this, Liz displayed the patience of a saint. If she thought I was hopeless then it never showed and her enviable ability to remain calm at all times really inspired my self-confidence.
Initially we stayed close to home; completing circuits of the indoor and outdoor arenas and very short hacks close to the hotel. Before long we were venturing further afield, where the scenery is just breath-taking. It was during one such foray, when we were at the top of the Knock when I first described the experience as a ‘Malteser Moment’. For me, that’s one of those really special times in life when you feel absolutely exhilarated as if you’re full of bubbles and about to explode.
There have been many such moments since then; notably the first time we crossed a ford, the time we climbed steps on horseback and one memorable ride when we zigzagged our way downhill through a wonderful but steep woodland trail – what an adrenaline rush!
Much to the amusement of the Riding Centre team I talk to Donald throughout each session, always have carrots for him as a reward at the end of the lesson and even treat him to his favourite Stout at Christmas!
It always feels such a privilege to ride this magnificent horse and I’d urge everyone to give it a try. I can think of no better way to relax after a stressful day and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be driving home afterwards singing along to your favourite CD at the very top of your voice. Happy days.”
Want to experience a ‘malteser moment’ for yourself? Visit our website or give us a call on 01764 651 830 to find out more about learning to ride with us