Wednesday, 30 October 2013

One step forwards, Two steps back

Come back to Blogging you say, but what is there for me to contribute. I don't do anything special or really well, I don't have any recipes or frugal ideas. I'm not witty, or pithy, and I don't have brilliantly funny insights into everyday life. I lead a fairly mundane, ordinary, average life, sometimes not all that well, so what is it you would like me to blog?

If you like, I could tell you how I spent my day today. Recently (end of Sept), my youngest lad, Morgan, (now turned 9 since I last blogged), decided that he really wanted to join the Pony Club. He has tried horseriding a couple of times before in the last few years as a, once a year, school summer holiday activity for a couple of hours. In fact I'm sure I've blogged about it before too. However this July, when he went for his one session, he loved it so much he wanted to go again a.s.a.p. So a few other things had to be sacrificed (including my lovely Taekwondo), to start paying for sessions as we go.

He has been going fortnightly on a Saturday morning from 9:30am - 1pm and for £30 has an hour lesson in the riding school with a 20 min hack at the end and spends the rest of the time, learning about horse care, grooming, tack etc. So he has done a total of 3 sessions since Sept 28th when the Head Instructor asks if he wants to do the extra session for Half-Term this morning and then stay on for this afternoon to do the "Pony Show".

Well he was pleased to do some extra riding (the extra £40 I had to pay for the day didn't even cross his mind, I'm sure) and I love that he has found an activity he loves, and already in only 3 sessions he has managed to get off the lead rein a couple of times and do some starting, walking and stopping all by himself. I did ask if it wasn't a bit too early to do a "Show", but was assured they would find something he could do.

So this morning, we set out at 9am and the morning session was the usual kind of thing. Here he is on Pongo, off the lead rein but with a helper near the pony's head just in case.

 Hard to see here, but he is standing out of the saddle for his "rising trot".

Then he went out for his hack, and he was left to do everything by himself. Stopping, starting, steering, trotting, ..... oh my goodness......... my little baby, in charge of a "vehicle" - ALL BY HIMSELF.

 Perhaps I should point out, that he was the only rider in his group who was let off on his own for the hack!!

A spot of grooming.
Then after lunch it was on to the show - his very first show ever, and he was learning as he went along, as it has never been explained to him and he didn't know at any point what was about to happen next - exciting!

First rule of "Showing", (apparently!), is you must have clean boots.....
Second rule, you must have your jacket done up and be looking smart! Tough job for a 9yr old boy!!!
Well it seemed he was in with a very good chance of coming First, Second or Third in his class.

Then the first 'section' it transpired was the "Showing", which is where they have to show they can walk, trot and canter their pony around the circuit of the Riding School. The "School" is the fenced in rectangular arena. Well Pongo didn't really get past a trot but Morgan did do quite a good 'rising' trot, stopped and started and changed rein all by himself with no verbal help either, while being assessed.

The second section it turned out, was a Gymkhana! Morgan has never even heard of one of those, but apparently it's different games to show off various skills including bending, reaching and the obligatory trotting, turning, stopping etc. The first game was to weave in and out of the cones and trot back. The second was the cup race - trot to the end, retrieve the first cup and bring it back to a pole at this end, then go back for the second cup and put it on the first and over the finish line.

Next came the egg and spoon race.
Then a flag race.....
Then a straight race, race....
After another break, while a couple of other groups did these sections, it was on to Section 3, a complete surprise to Morgan, "jumping"! Everyone, even the much more experienced riders in the other classes had to be on the lead rein for this as it was in a different arena, with GRASS! If someone wasn't holding on to the ponies, all they wanted to do was munch grass all afternoon, quite funny!! However, Morgan had to remember the course of 6 'jumps' for himself, steer around the course and head for the middle of each 'jump'.
Well what can I say about "jumping"....... Morgan absolutely loved it. He swears that Pongo did a 'proper' jump over one flat pole as if it was higher, and he thought it was fabulous...... move over Nick Skelton !!! I've never seen his smile beaming so broadly and I got a little, secret thumbs too, when he thought no-one else was watching.... his favourite part of the whole day!!

....... and after all these photos, you're probably wondering where he was 'placed'................

............First !! at his first ever Show !!!! Yay!!!!

I am so pleased for him. He did absolutely brilliantly and beat two girls who have been riding a lot longer than him. I am trying hard not to be too big-headed and un-British, but I am failing dismally. Instead I am one very proud Mommy!!

After lots of tidying up, got home at 6pm and have been editing photos all evening and basking in the glow of Morgan's triumph, living vicariously and loving it!!

Hope this verbosity is a little of what you wanted and I haven't just bored you to death.

Love Arwedd xx