Hello! I’m back again with a bit more about my equine-related activities. Things haven’t been as action-packed as they were in my last piece, but it’s all been good stuff. First off, when I got home on Wednesday, there was the stiff brown envelope with ’British Horse Society’ on it that I’d been expecting, lying on the doormat. A minor panic, but I opened it, and Yes!! – I’d passed, so that’s the Stage 2 Horse Knowledge and Care finally sorted. A big thank-you to Anna and the other instructors who did my training over the years, and to the girls on the yard for putting up with me when I was training alongside them in the latter stages.
On Thursday I had my first lesson with Heather. A change of instructor is always an anxious time, but I thought the lesson went well – I had to work hard, but felt I’d achieved something and, maybe most importantly, I enjoyed it.
So that’s what I’ve been up to, but if I haven’t already sent you to sleep, maybe I’ve got the space to tell you a bit about how I come to be wandering round Foxes wearing a Wirral and Chester RDA top. When I retired in mid-2009 I promised myself that I wouldn’t get tied up with anything for twelve months, and just use the time to adjust and have no worries about having to get up in the morning. Best-laid plans and all that! Anyway, it so happened that Kath, the present RDA ride leader on Thursday daytime, and I had known each other for years and were part of a group that met for a drink in a pub in Chester on Sunday evenings. As soon as she heard that I was due to retire, Kath started suggesting that I ought to join the RDA, and that I’d really enjoy it. In view of my decision about not getting involved I kept resisting for months, but Kath persevered and eventually, late one Sunday night after I’d been plied with sufficient alcohol, I agreed to come along. Of course, once I did, I was hooked. So by the end of July 2010 I’d done my basic RDA training, and the rest is history.
That might have been it, but after a few months I realized that I wanted to know more about this whole horsy business. (For good or ill, I’m the sort of person who, once I get my teeth into something, can’t rest until I’ve got my head round it, if that’s not mixing too many metaphors.) I spotted that the BHS Stage 1 training ran on Thursday evenings from 7 pm. I was there till 7 with the RDA anyway; coincidence or what? Apart from a couple of afternoons pony trekking in my student days, I’d never sat on a horse in my life, so the riding bit was out of the question. What really interested me, though, was the knowledge and care side of things. So early in 2011 I asked Anna if I could join the Stage I training, and she agreed. (I’d already squared slipping off a bit early from the last RDA ride of the evening with the ride leader.) Everything was completely new to me, of course, but I took the exam at Eccleston that December and passed. Seriously, if you’re at all interested in horses I can recommend both the BHS course and Foxes’ training. (They’re not paying me to write this – honest!) You don’t have to take the exam!
See you around,