My first time out trail riding
- May 18, 2017
It had been quite a few years since I had last gone horse riding so I was slightly apprehensive about going on my first trail riding season. Firstly,because of my lack of riding practice, and secondly because I was going out with friends who had much more riding experience than I had. Nonetheless, I was determined to give it a try as it had been something I wanted to do for some time, so we made the booking and set off on our adventure.
When we got to the stables and I saw the horse which was specifically picked out for me, I became even more nervous, as he was huge andmost definitely well over 16 hands. However, I tried to hide my nerves and attempted to keep my composure as I led him out to the sand arena for my riding assessment.
Once inside the area, I positioned my horse beside the step-stool and jumped on board. As we strolled about, I grew more confident with each lap of the arena we went around together. After my initial riding assessment, and once I was comfortable with my horse, I felt a real senseof excitement come over me and was eager to get going.
At the beginning of the trek and due to my limited riding experience, it was a very much nose-to-tail ride as we negotiated our way in single-file through the Irish countryside. Our guide positioned me in the middle of the group which appeared to really suit my horse. It seemed that because my horse had one to follow in front and a horse behind pushing him on to keep the pace, I had to do very little and it was the perfect position for me as the novice rider within the group.
As we meandered through unchartered paths and took in some of the most stunning views of the Wild Atlantic Way, I felt a real sense of total relaxation. The everyday stresses which I had felt earlier in the day had all seemed to disappear and it felt like I hadn’t a worry in the world. I had since forgotten how relaxing horse riding was and even though we hit some light rain during the day, it didn’t take away from our enjoyment.
As the trek went on, we came across a lovely open stretch of land and the lead rider asked the group if we would all feel comfortable enough to go into a canter. By this stage, I was starting to feel very comfortable with my new equine companion so I decided I would give it a go. Again, despite being a little nervous in trying something slightly more advanced than a walking pace, I felt there was no better opportunity to improve my riding skills. So, with a simple nod of the head, the lead rider started into a canter and my horse seemed to know his job and willingly followed.
It was a hugely rewarding experience and although it was only a short canter, it gave me a real sense of accomplishment. At the start of the day I was nervous about even getting on a horse, but now I felt completely comfortable and because he was so well schooled, as soon as I gave a slight pull on the reins and asked him to slow to a walking pace again,he did so instantly and without hesitation. I felt that I was in total control which made me feel so comfortable and at ease. I could just continue to enjoy the remaining part of the trek and any of the nerves which I previously experienced had completely disappeared.
When our trek was over, we all went back to the hotel where we were staying and had a delicious meal. After our food, a few well deserved drinks followed while we listened to some live music in front of a roaring log fire. I could feel that I had given my body a thorough workout with my leg muscles getting the most attention. It left me with a feeling of total satisfaction, I had not only given my body a complete workout, but I had immense enjoyment in doing it.
It was a weekend that my friends and I will never forget and I can’t wait for our next horseback riding holiday together. My advice would be to anyone that’s slightly apprehensive about riding a horse for the first time, is just to go out and do it. The feeling of complete freedom and the total relaxation which it brings is an amazing experience that is hard to quantify in words. I realised that, even the most competent of riders have had the amazingfeeling of their first time being on a horse and most likely went through the same insecurities which I first had,so there is really no need to feel that your riding skills are not quite up to par with others. I have also learned that horseback riding is not about competing with others, it’s all about enjoying yourself and taking a break from the everyday stresses of life. Of course, if you just want to improve your riding skills there are many different riding activates and horses that can be provided to do this, but most of all, having fun is what horse riding is all about.
It is not just the anticipation and excitement of going on your first horse trek that’s enjoyable, the stunning views, or even the feeling of accomplishment and the fond memories that you will create with your friends along the way. It is the whole package; the hospitality, the customer service and the feeling of being completely looked after which makes EHI a cut above the rest when it comes to providing the very best equestrian holidays in Ireland. It was quite simply one of the best experiences I ever had and would highly recommend anyone to give it a try!