Adventures of a Rusty Rider

Though I have fond memories of cantering Copper bareback and brideless back to the paddock after his days work at the riding stables was over for the day, that really only proves what a very good memory I have as those days are so far in the past as to be ancient history.

Returning to riding after a twenty-five year break, I find that nothing remains of that carefree and confident child. At least for me, it seems that riding a horse is not at all like riding a bike.

The first challenge to overcome sounds so easy. 'Relax!' my instructor kept telling me. She could see tension in my carriage, in my arms and in my jaw that I was not even aware of. That is I wasn't aware of being tense until I got off after the first lesson and unclenched my teeth.

Despite this inauspicious beginning, I was quite committed to regaining at least a little of my former ease and confidence on horseback. Money and time constraints meant that my lessons were restricted to one hour, once a week.

No wonder I didn't progress as quickly as I would like. The first half of every lesson would see me frantically trying to recall the small advancements made in the previous one. Though at one time leg aids and half halts must have been second nature, now my body treated these methods of communication as an alien and totally incomprehensible language.

My seat was insecure, my hands heavy and my co-ordination of leg aids so awkward that whatever mount I was on no doubt that I was talking an alien language too.

What I found that helped enormously was researching the principles that my poor instructor was finding herself repeating to me every week and visualising using them before the next lesson.

So here, broken down into the smallest of steps, are the articles and pointers that most helped me knock some of the rust off my long-neglected riding skills.


The Riding Seat

The Halt

The Half Halt

Lighter Hands




K9 Tenerife

K9 is a local dog shelter in Tenerife. Housing more than sixty dogs at a time K9 work hard to encourage community involvement with a kid's dog walking club and regular community events.

Wild Mustangs

The Black Hills Wild Mustang Sanctuary is a non-profit charity dedicated to provide freedom for unadoptable and unwanted mustangs. the group also fund research into wild horse management.