If, like Sam, the time comes and you outgrow your trusted childhood pony you will experience a series of emotions, the loss of a dear friend and the daunting challenge of riding your first horse.
A horse is a whole new challenge, and if you want to progress in the competitive world it’s time to up your game. So, with the help of KW Academy, Scotts of Thrapston has produced a few tips to help you on your way.
1. Finding the right home for your old pony
Take your time to search for the ideal home for your pony. Really understanding their positive attributes as well as quirks, will serve to help you find the perfect new family for them. Getting this right will enable you to stay in touch and follow the pony’s progress in its new home. A key step to overcome any emotional distress.
2. Speak to your coach
If you have a private coach, or are part of The Pony Club, your coach is the best place to start to discuss the next step you require, to ensure you are not over horsed. They will be able to recommend breeds and temperaments that would suit you and your ambitions.
3. Find another horse you can ride
Your coach may be able to help you gain access to ride a horse in a lesson, so that you can start to get a feel. Riding schools will often have several quality horses they use for experienced riders and BHS exams so do not overlook them for a lesson.
4. Take your coach to viewings
When buying your new horse take your coach along with you. They will understand your style, and make sure you don’t over power yourself by buying an unsuitable horse.
5. Build up your own muscles
If you like other sports this is great as it will keep you fit and your mind in tune with your body. If you don’t like other sports that will complement your riding, try to investigate different options such as yoga and pilates – you may even be able to find an equine specific practitioner to support your training programme.
6. Grow your own mindset
Horses take more riding than ponies. It’s time to start tuning your brain into them. Horses are often more sensitive and where a pony could get you out of trouble, with a horse you will need to do a lot more technical thinking. If you are working with a coach who can help you focus your mindset, overcoming any fear or anxiety, as well as your technical riding you are on to a good thing.
7. Keep regular contact with your coach
Make sure you have a good coach to help you though the first few months, with as many lessons as possible. They can help you iron out any teething problems before they escalate.
8. Remember the basics
All the basics you learnt on your pony still apply to riding a horse but will become more important.
9. Don’t worry
Riding a horse is going to feel like you are going faster but it’s just the horse covering more ground than your pony.
10. Don’t rush
Even if the horse and you have jumped certain heights independently before, always start small and build a partnership. There is no rush.