‘Gravity plays favourites, I know it ’cause I saw…’

21 07 2012

I am very tired. I have finished all of my exams now and school is over, on top of which I didn’t get a full night’s sleep last night and was still out at 6am for a 7am start at riding club. What’s more, even though we’ve just had a couple of unseasonably cool days, the average temperature has risen sufficiently that the normal start time for the club will be put back to 06:30 every morning from Tuesday for the horses’ benefit. That said, now I have no other academic commitments there is no reason why I shouldn’t update every day after riding practice this next week before I come back to the UK. Heh.

Well, in the last few days I’ve been doing a lot of turning up and helping out, but I haven’t done a lot of riding. On Wednesday, I had a good long ride on Max, who on this occasion was willing, although I lost control of him a couple of times; I seem to be weak at turning to the left during a trot. This is undoubtedly because I don’t usually do it as much as turning left, which is something I would like to work on. Anyway, they made me trot around the full length of the dressage arena without saddles for a long time, so long my thighs started to hurt (in that nice, ‘FEEL THE BUUURN!’ sort of way). Heh. Then, I moved onto cantering practice. My sempai was happy with my ability to begin and end the canter, and with my ability to ride with the motions of it, but I have to admit that because I’m still not used to the speed I still find it a bit daunting, whenever I went into a canter I would grab onto the strap on the front of the saddle for security more than anything else. My sempai was shouting at me just to use the reins, but on this occasion I just couldn’t do it! Ah well, give me time to get used to it and I’ll become King Arthur for sure. Heh.

After that I did the usual wash, groom and return routine on Max. This was pleasant and uneventful. I’m certain that Max and I are friends now; he always seems to look pleased to see me, and he never gives me any trouble any more. This is especially rewarding for me considering there was a time when every time I went near him he tried to bite me (even succeeded on a couple of occasions).

And then on to today, which was my next riding day. It was more eventful than it should have been, considering I was only supposed to be giving Shirika her norikiri!

Shirika has not been well recently, apparently. I did overhear someone else being told what’s wrong with her, but my Japanese isn’t good enough to have understood it. With this in mind, the plan for her for today was for her regular rider (she’s one of the fourth years’ practice horses) to give her some basic flatwork exercise, and for me to then do her norikiri. However, her regular rider must have suspected she might cause problems, because rather than having me just mount up, slacken the reins and roam around freely, I was supervised and told to keep the reins short. The whole time, I had to keep pulling her back from her attempts to suddenly break into a trot back to walking pace, which resulted in a lot of jerky speeding up and slowing down, but I kept her under control.

After the time was up, her regular rider instructed me to ride her out into the yard and dismount, and it was seconds after I rode her out of the arena that she very suddenly jumped and broke into run. It caught me unawares, and I fell again. However, I was more relaxed this time, I think, and I’m pleased to report that I wasn’t left with any lasting pains anywhere. Shirika herself, after ridding herself of me, oddly just ran into the smaller circle-shaped arena and stopped, then turned around and gave me her characteristic ‘Northern look’.

I was left to wash and groom her afterwards, though, and she was fine from then on, so goodness only knows what was going through her mind. Silly mare!

I can’t quite believe I only have one more week of this now before my return to the UK. It’s crazy how fast the last four months have gone past. The previous semester didn’t go as quickly, and I like to think that it’s been participating in the riding club that’s not only made the time seem to fly, but also kept me going through what has otherwise been a bit of a tough time for me, actually. YAY HORSES!

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