My Kingdom for Some Riding Boots

21 04 2012

Yesterday I got to trot for the first time! I rode both Hokon and Max (warmed up on Hokon, was asked to dismount so someone who had to leave earlier due to having a lecture before me could ride, then I mounted Max, upon whom I trotted). It was SO much fun, and I was surprised by how well I remembered how to rise with the motion of the horse. The only thing I found difficult was recovering my left foot position after the stirrup slipped back from under the balls of that foot and stopped at the heel of the boot I was wearing.

I was also trusted to clean and groom Max afterwards unassisted and unsupervised. He was superbly well behaved for me this time, and gave me a head-hug afterwards.

Today started with boot woes. I allowed myself to rise an hour later than usual simply because I’d been so tired the previous night, and went up to the tack shop beside Baji Kouen, the amusingly named ‘Horsy International’, with the intention of buying myself a pair of Aigle riding boots. Sadly, they didn’t have any in my foot size and calf size. Thing is I have humongous calves; the very kind and helpful shop lady estimated I would need a size XXLS, to give you an idea – and I couldn’t even pull the boots on to check they fit my feet okay. She said they could order some in for me, but I didn’t really want to agree to that without first being able to try a pair on to make sure for definite they’d fit me. So I’m stumped for what to do now. I really don’t want to keep riding in borrowed wellies because they’re so cumbersome in comparison.

Anyway, riding today was awesome, because in spite of bit of a bad start (they set me to work measuring the hay for the horses’ lunch, and I’d completely forgotten to bring any antihistamines or masks, and what’s more I cut my finger whilst chopping up hay for the ponies) I got to trot again, this time without stirrups! I’ve never done this before, and I was surprised when the sempai who was instructing me told me to; each of the first years received one-on-one instruction in trotting today, and I was asked to do it without stirrups. It’s pretty hard on your thigh muscles, but it’s really good fun; it feels significantly more like riding and less like sitting on a moving horse. After my first attempt, the sempai stopped me and explained that my posture had been dangerous; I naturally gripped the horse (Hokon this time) with my knees and leaned forwards as this felt like the most natural thing to do, but apparently by doing so I was signalling to the horse to go faster. He made me go around the track again in the opposite direction, this time leaning backwards slightly with my legs straight out in front of me. This was harder, but afterwards he was complimented me on how I’d done. I’m trying not to let it get to my head.

Then I mostly helped with sweeping and cleaning until home-time. Immediately afterwards, I went to Ikebukuro to visit Aigle’s retail outletto see if they had any riding boots that would fit me, only to discover that they don’t stock riding boots at all there, only outdoor clothes and wellingtons. Oh well…

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