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Chapter Six: The First Ride

“Bella, you hold here on the reins. Typically, we walk on the horse’s left side. It’s a habit from the days of knights and sword fights. Good, we are going to go to the indoor arena. It’s covered and not as many bugs. Yep, just walk like that. Goldie will follow where you lead.” I can’t believe I am leading a horse!

The indoor arena is smaller than the outdoor. There are four jumps set up and some long poles in a row. I lead Goldie around the arena.

“What do I do now? My riding boots feel funny on my feet. Goldie nips my arm and I drop the reins.

“Ah, don’t drop the reins. If he decides to run away he can get caught up in them. Pick up the reins, good, and walk towards me and the steps I am standing next to. This is called a mounting block.

I walk Goldie to Fiona and she does some adjusting to the saddle and stirrups.

“Today you are riding English. I try to teach my students to learn how to ride both English and Western disciplines. Thank you, for waiting. I know you must be excited! To get on a horse, you will climb up the steps, put your left foot in and swing up and over like you are getting on a bike.”

I slid onto the saddle and it feels so strange. Ms. Fiona shows me where to put my feet in the stirrups and how to hold the reins. I smile at my mom and then Ms. Fiona tells me to give Goldie a little kick. We are walking!

I look around and can’t believe I am on a horse! Ms. Fiona’s voice echoes in the ring and I try to remember what she is saying.

“Good, good posture. Sit up tall. Look ahead. Plan your course, your path. Think about where you want to be. Hands need to be hip width apart. Good job. Heels down, breathing in an out. Think about how the horse is moving.”

I feel the how Goldie swings his legs, it is so weird! They way he moves is so different than how I walk. I could imagine I am riding by myself in the ocean or the woods.

“Bella, focus. I know this is all new but focus, feel the rhythm listen to his hoofsteps, listen to how to horse is moving, how the equipment moves with him. Good. Now, to steer, to go left: we look left, pull left, go left.  To go right: we look right, pull right, go right.”

Ms. Fiona steps away from Goldie and I look at her. She motions with her hands and her body. I try and follow what she is showing. Goldie wants to go into the middle of the ring but I look to the right and pull him to the right. Goldie walks to the right! I look ahead and Goldie walks towards the side of the indoor. Ms. Fiona is about five feet from me and is smiling.

“Good! Very good, that’s it. Scratch his neck, tell him good boy! See, riding is simple. You look where you want to go, you plan on where you want to go and the horse follow. My horses are all trained to listen to their riders. Goldie probably knows about 500 words.”

Goldie and I walk around the edge of the indoor arena. He tries to go towards the middle and I pull him back to the edge of the ring. Ms. Fiona has me turn Goldie around to go the other way and she tells me I’m doing great. We ride for a while longer and work on stopping by pulling back and saying ‘whoa but having to do that with pulling back and sitting down in the saddle. We work on it and then Ms. Fiona has me ride Goldie to her in the middle of the ring.

“Good job today, it won’t always be this easy but great first lesson!”


Published by Hidden Meadow Equestrian Center

A small private horseback riding center located in central Connecticut. Our focus is helping you get back to nature.

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