Yesterday I had the most magical day. My friend booked us a 6 hour ride at Highlands Unbridled (you can find their website here) where we went out for a long ride across rugged terrain from woodland to tackling a 525 metre hill called Carnferg. The views from the top were absolutely breath taking. It felt like we were on top of the world. When you live in Central Scotland, it is easy to forget the true rugged beauty of Scotland and I was certainly reminded of that yesterday.
Before the ride, I was a bit apprehensive because I didn’t think I was fit enough or that I would manage a long ride- given my usual rides out are around an hour and mostly in walk due to Bo being unable to do too much. I was so wrong. I managed really well on my little highland X connemara pony. My 10 year old pony for the day was called Corrie and she was an angel. She was super speedy and fun and I was grinning from ear to ear as we cantered/ galloped through the woodland tracks.
Where I’m based at home, there is a devastating lack of opportunity to experience true countryside like that and so it was amazing to just listen to the sounds of the horses hooves in the quiet of a forest, with birds chirping, flies buzzing (lots of them I might add) and streams flowing.
As I rode, I pondered many things. First, I re-discovered my love for riding. It has been so long since I’ve been able to have a good canter/ gallop and I could not stop smiling when we did. It was pure freedom and I experienced true joy. It also reminded me that I can actually ride well. Usually, I just feel like a sack of potatoes as I plod about at home so it sparked me up to remember that I’m actually a capable rider. In addition, I found that I’m reasonably well suited to the endurance side of things. I really enjoyed it and I felt I coped very well (I am slightly stiff today but SO much better than I thought I would be!). I’ve thought about endurance before but I’ve never had an opportunity to properly test whether I would enjoy it. And enjoy it I did!
I reckon I’d quite like to try endurance- maybe just some pleasure rides first. I honestly loved every minute of it. I loved the relationship I built with Corrie in that short time. I loved the trust we put in each other to get us across tricky terrain. I even loved the challenge of the tricky terrain. It felt really natural to me.
Overall, this experience is one of the best equestrian experiences I have had. I went to bed last night reliving it and I would absolutely do it all over again.