I do remember falling off horses, as a young fellow. It’s not something I would want to do again.
This comes to mind because I’m getting riding lessons on the wonderful Paulie.
So far, I’m working on the trotting bit. Paulie has cantered too, but I’ve slowed him down again so I can work on one thing at a time.
Trotting is second gear on a horse, and involves a fair bit of jarring up and down. If you get it right, it’s not too uncomfortable.
It’s quite hard work as you have to rise in the stirrups every second bump. The way I do it, your testicles get bashed into the saddle every two seconds.
Under Jan’s patient instruction, this is only half as painful as it used to be. Perhaps because there’s not a lot of them left. No, my technique is definitely improving each session.
Cantering has been OK, reasonably balanced but not as comfortable as I remember it from Dad’s ponies. Maybe I don’t have the right muscles yet, or perhaps my weight distribution has changed a little (!) since then. I’ll get Jan’s advice on that too, and partly it seems to be just a matter of getting used to riding again.
We did try whirling cardboard tubes while riding Paulie, and he’s relaxed about that. Jan’s horses are now dealing with coloured flags, even garish rugby league flags, and they’re fine with them too.
Paulie has now had many riders, at various levels of skill, and he’s great with them all. He seems to be very careful not to push things too far, and prefers to plod until he thinks you’re ready.
We’re so pleased with him. He seems perfect for Cockatrice Farm. I could easily have spent five times as much and not got such a good horse.
Our new wwoofer, Joonas from Finland, is helping a lot with the horses, and Jan is giving him riding lessons too. He’s going to stay until our medieval horse event in May.
Hopefully we can do some great horseback games by then, without any unplanned interfaces with the ground. In a limited study, I found that falling off a horse is not as bad as slipping off a high ladder when packing up a medieval feast after a long day.