In preparation for my trip to Mongolia next year, I have decided to start riding again so that I have a fairly high skill level by the time I get to the land that created the stirrup. One of our reenacting friends, Christiane, has a beautiful Canadian (yes, that’s a breed) horse named Calumet, and she has offered to let me ride him as many weekends as I want, because I prefer to trot and canter and he needs a workout. He is a really well-gaited horse, and despite being considerably larger than the horses I typically prefer, is quite comfortable to ride.
Yesterday was the second time I had gone riding with Christiane, and I felt a lot more confident this time around. I rode a bit as a kid, and I rode in college, but it had been at least 4 years since I was last on a horse, and Calumet needs very little incentive to GO. Cal is also very, very attached to Christiane, and my first day was a constant struggle to keep him from running back to her. This time around, though, we rode on their farm rather than in a paddock (except for a short time while we were trying to calm Cal down), and I had almost no trouble directing him. I am far, far from being able to hold a steady course, but at least he listens to me now.
Riding horses at anything other than a walk is quite a workout, and my legs are not terribly happy with my decision to take up both running and horseback riding at the same time. We generally spend about four hours at the stable, 3 of which are spent riding, and 2 of which are spent fast-trotting and cantering. This time around we also had me trot and canter while completely standing up. It’s very difficult, but once you find the right balance point, it’s actually quite comfortable. Cal has a very comfortable canter, though this time around I also rode another friend’s massively tall thoroughbred for half an hour, and his canter was smooth as butter – no trouble staying in the saddle at all. If anything, riding these huge horses is going to make the little Mongolian ponies seem like a piece of cake.
This time around I had Christiane take some photos of me riding. I’m still going through them, but here are a few:
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