Getting back in the saddle
And several years spent typing at a desk have all but ruined my posture.
Nevertheless, just a short period spent in the saddle on the lunge and off it under Janet's tutelage is enough to significantly improve my limited abilities – albeit not exorcise me entirely of my propensity to slouch.
Significantly, my first lesson also takes me through the basics of preparing my horse, in this case the very compliant Max, for the lesson.
The language sometimes used when riding can be difficult to comprehend, so here is a brief guide:
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A mare is a female horse, a gelding is a castrated adult male horse, a stallion is an uncastrated male horse and a pony is a fully-grown small horse (14.2 hands or under – a hand is four inches). A colt is a male horse under the age of three and a filly is its female equivalent.
Every horse has four gaits – different speeds – at which it can travel. These are walk, trot, canter or gallop.
Tack describes all the equipment used on a horse from the bridle (the pieces which are fitted around a horses' head to help direct it), reins, the saddle, halter (used to lead a horse), stirrups etc.
Lunging is a way of exercising a horse, using a lunge rein that is attached to the halter. The horse moves in circles around the trainer, who stands in the middle holding the lunge rein.
A gymkhana is an event consisting of timed games for riders on horses, normally aimed at children.
Almost all riding schools can provide you with the basic equipment you need to get started, but riders are advised to purchase their own helmets and body protectors once they are certain the sport is something they want to commit to.