Wednesday marked my first day back in the saddle after a few week break and the first time ever riding horses in a different country. Oh and it was my first official trek out of the city since I arrived. It was lesson day for the University of Manchester Riding Club.
I got a lift to the stables from another member and we sailed through small towns, pony bound. We arrived at the farm to find dozens of beautiful horses of all sizes and breeds, from small show ponies to massive Clydesdale mixes, like Patch the mare I was lucky enough to get matched with.
The lesson was 45 minutes of the riding instructor getting to know our riding abilities and Patch trying desperately to gallop endless circles around the ring. It was an interesting experience, however I did get Patch calm, cool, and collected and forced her to give me a beautiful canter, one which the instructor determined was "Brilliant".
First lesson down, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. But every week promises to be different as the club wants to get us experienced on all sorts of horses: big and small, stubborn and lightning-fast. Oh and we'll be adding a third dimension to the lessons soon...jumping.
I hope to try out for the competitive riding team next year where we travel to different stables, get on a horse we've never ridden before, and compete against different universities in a dressage test and show-jumping course.
Until then, I'm hobbling around like a cowboy with very sore legs.