My mom and I have been making a bucket list of things to do during my lifetime, and one of the first was to ride a horse!
From there, we contacted Riverside Equestrian Centre, located on 13751 Gardencity Road, Richmond, BC, for my very first lesson!
"Equestrian - adj. of or related to horse riding; noun. a rider or performer on horseback." - New Oxford American Dictionary
We arrived 15 minutes early and we were warmly greeted by my instructor, Rebecca. We filled out some forms and Rebecca helped me in finding a helmet, a pair of boots (with walking heels), and a horse.
The horses were like my puppies! In the sense that they were really calm and most of the time they just minded their own business. Rebecca took out Chester, a beautiful chocolate-brown horse with blond surfer-dude mane. I took his "leash" (there is probably a more correct name for this...) and walked him back to the main stables.
TAKE NOTE: we always have to stay on the horse's left side because this was how horses were trained traditionally.
I apologize for my poor horse-terminology...
First things first, before riding a horse, one must know about grooming. Rebecca taught me how to groom, and we used 3 brushes to finish the job. First, I used a small plastic brush to get all the dust from the bottom of Chester's body "hair" (fur? I am not sure) to the surface. Then, I used a long big brush to get rid of that surface dust. Lastly, I used a fine small brush to comb away the dust from his legs.
Boy, he is dusty! Horses really looooove rolling on the ground!
Another note: I was terrified of getting kicked, but Chester was really chill, so that never happened. XD
We put on his saddle (which also involved putting two mats on his back as well as strapping this belt-thing around his upper-belly), strapped on his reins, and walked him to the arena. After some pre-riding instructions and adjustments to the "pedal," I finally climbed on Chester.
To get him walking, I must squeeze my legs together. On the other hand, in order to get him to stop, I must pull on the reins. Although my leg-squeeze was not strong, referring from my knowledge in snowboarding, for beginners, knowing how to brake is more useful than knowing how to go forward.
After a few rounds in the arena, Rebecca decided to let me try trotting. Basically, I had to stand up and sit down in a distinct rhythm that followed the speed of Chester's trot.
This was difficult. In my first several tries I looked like I got stuck on an extremely fast merry-go-around. Rebecca showed me how it was supposed to look like, so I tried again and, thankfully, there was way less bobbing.
Rebecca told me it might be easier if I let go of my hands. It was not an impossible task, but it was not easy either, and I got quite nervous. This was most definitely a great work out for my core, and I would not be surprised if I start to get a six-pack.
We finished with some hoof-cleaning and some more grooming. We returned Chester to his home stall and called it a day, before my mom and I went to Greenhawk, an equestrian equipment shop, to get some gear!
With my new boots, helmet, and half chaps, now I look like a pro!
Ariel Jingjing Cao
~ muah <3 ~