Team Wimpy Update 7: Learning to enjoy it by Amie and Raven

Well hello,

So … firstly I cannot begin to explain how inspirational the ladies in our team are! I’m sure if you’ve read the earlier team wimpy blogs you’ll all agree … and I’m lucky enough to have these fab ladies on hand 24/7 each time I have a wobble!

I met some of our team back in May and it was surreal to walk into a room of people I’ve never met yet feel like I’m meeting up with old friends.

When I wrote my first intro blog I was nervous of even going to the yard. After ‘the’ riding accident I tried out several new yards. Bad experiences because either the instructor didn’t like working with that horse in lessons, the other girl on the hack wanted to ride the horse I’d been given or quite honestly, simply because some people are just mean.

A combination of these things meant I became stuck in a rut of desperately wanting to be back in the saddle but my arthritis mixed with my anxiety told me I couldn’t do that and I wouldn’t fit in so why bother!

I then had a “brave” day (after a glass of vino or 3) where I contacted a local yard and arranged to pop down and meet the yard manager Hayley. My fiancé Steve is amazing and supportive – but he is not a horsey person and has previously been asked if he’s on a Vogue photo shoot when joining me at the yard! I dragged him to the new yard with me under strict instructions that if we arrived and everyone had immaculate hair, perfect make up and annoyingly clean cream jodhpurs we were to turn around and run!

We walked into the yard and were greeted by two cuddly donkeys and friendly faces. We weren’t snubbed and we were introduced to everyone there … the humans, the horses, the ponies, the donkeys and the dogs!

This is when I first met Raven … introduced as the “Ferrari of horses that makes everyone look amazing” … it was love at first sight!

I don’t remember much of the first time I rode Raven … but I didn’t fall off or throw up and I even managed to smile at the end. After that I was hooked … I only wish there were photos of my face the first time I was asked to canter .. or the time my body was asking for canter but I thought I should be trotting .. haa haa they would have been a picture!

Who knew that fear made you incapable of breathing or that you had to remind yourself to do it!

My instructor is Samantha Larner and I can’t begin to thank her for how much she’s done for me. Week on week she’s built my confidence without me realising (even if in my head I knew those jumps were getting higher!).

Since my intro blog which had my target of wanting to be able to jump by the end of the year … just two months on and I’m jumping! Little old me .. jumping in canter … at 2 foot 9!! Now there may not be any finesse to my riding … my matchy matchy might not be quite on point .. my language as I approach the jumps may not be very child friendly …. but you know what .. I’m doing it .. I’m actually doing it.

I’m smiling and riding is fun again!

In between riding him, I love my “horsey hugs” with Raven and after a splurge on some beautiful Ecqlusive brushes at Badminton, grooming has become my daily therapy (not sure Raven would agree).

I feel very lucky as, thanks to my vitality band my energy levels are up and pain levels are down (they really do work) and the gorgeous kit from Ariat & Foxy Equestrian mean I get to look the part too.

Horses really are amazing and nothing beats coming home stinking of horse … I’m not sure Steve would agree with that one either! Building a bond with a horse that could quite easily squash me and eat me if he wanted is a real honour.

We’ve had a few battles of wills but patience has paid off and when he just stands with me in the field or falls asleep whilst I’m stroking him makes me smile.

Last week he fancied a morning off so decided to endure a horrid bout of colic rather than have me ride him … now I was teary as I love this horse so much – he has literally helped me become me again … however there was another reason for the tears ….

I had a lesson planned … I had no Imodium on me … Raven had bailed on me … I either didn’t ride which would send my anxiety sky high … or I pulled my brave pants on and rode another horse.

As the question was asked I remember swallowing down the urge to throw up (I would have run but my legs were already wobbling!) and saying “yea ok”.

“YEA OK!!!”. The Amie in my head was screaming “are you mental” … “you can’t do this” … “imminent death awaits you” … I was literally deciding what flowers to have at my funeral (that’s the florist in me!) … but then I was on Jasper (another scary ex racehorse who was actually a super star!!) … and I was riding him. We walked … we trotted (and I got my diagonal right!) … we cantered … we even jumped a tiny jump which was my choice to do … and I enjoyed it!!! To top this off … I only earnt myself a yard “certificate” for bravery!  Haa haa, how about that … a wimpy rider having a bravery award!!!

There is sooo much to be said for finding the right yard for you, building a bond with the horse you ride and surrounding yourself with people that support you … I promise you they are out there!

So to quote both Vic and the yards motto “You’ve got this” … you’ve just got to believe it …

Love Amie & Raven x x

Vic Brant

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