(My first proper PS, first posted way back on the 13th of October, 2007!)
The Confidence Booster
It was a chilly morning at EA Equestrian and Abigail was cold. Sighing, she trudged through the mud and long grass and called Tamarind.
"Taaaaaaaaaaam...come on boy...time for work!"
She stamped the ground a couple of times to warm up and was soon greeted by a loud whinny from the far side of the field. The Lusitano stallion cantered up to her and she gave him a polo and put on his halter, whilst checking that his rug was still intact. (Tam liked to destroy his fieldwear quite a lot)
She led Tam back to the yard, put him in his box and fed and derugged him. Abigail checked her watch. Sue was booked in for a lesson in a couple of hours time and she had so much to do before then.
An hour or so later and with Tam now fed and watered, the only thing left to do was groom him and tack him up. Abigail enlisted David, one of the yard's best handlers to hold him while she tackled his beautiful flowing mane.
Once groomed she carefully put on his saddle. David asked her why she didn't give him a bridle but she told him that he goes much better bitless, what with all his natural horsemanship training and whatnot.
Now fully tacked up, all there was to do was wait for Sue to arrive. Luckily it wasn't long before she drove up, apologising for her lateness. Abigail helped her to get on and asked her what she wanted to do in the lesson.
Sue explained that she had recently had a bad fall from her Arabian - Magic - and had really lost confidence in her riding. She didn't want to canter and definetly didn't want to risk jumping as that's how she had come off in the first place! Abigail smiled and told her that she could do as much or as little as she wanted.
"Don't worry about Tam - he's totally bombproof! You'll have your confidence back in no time!"
Sue smiled and they walked across the car park to the arena.
"Right" said Abigail. "I'd like you to warm up for me please with a couple of trots on both reins and a twenty metre circle at C"
Sue did as she was asked and within minutes Tam was parading around like a natural showhorse.
Pleased with her so far, Abigail set up some trotting poles and asked Sue to trot over them as well to improve Tam's movement.
Abigail grinned. "Well done, that was really good. Now then...would you like to have a wee canter? Tam'll be fine, I promise!"
Sue considered it and decided to give it a go. After all, she couldn't trot ALL the time and Tam seemed like a really nice horse!
As she asked him to canter, her right stirrup slipped from her foot and she suddenly felt unsafe and started to tip forwards. Thinking she wanted him to speed up, Tam increased his pace and flew round the school!
Sue clung on tightly to his mane and cried "Abigail! Heeeeeelp!"
Abigail rushed over and managed to grab a rein and brought him back to walk.
"Are you alright Sue?" Abigail patted Tam's nose softly. "Just sit back and relax...you're alright now." Sue took a deep breath, fixed her stirrup and relaxed. She wasn't fine...she felt great!
"I want to jump"
This statement took Abigail by surprise - she had expected Sue to avoid jumping altogether after that runaway canter, but no, Sue was obviously much more confident than she had previously thought!
"Just a little one!" Sue laughed. "I don't want to jinx myself!"
Abigail chuckled and put up a small jump for her. "Is that ok?" Sue smile.d "It's perfect. I need to push myself or I'll never get over that fall!" Sue nudged Tam forwards and they popped over it like it was nothing at all! (which it really wasn't!)
Sue trotted back into the middle of the school with a massive grin on her face.
Abigail did as she was asked and raised the jump to a full block cross, then stood back to watch them jump it.
Sue trotted around the school once, cantered in one of the corners and turned into the fence, going into jumping position before they took off...
Before she knew it they were up, up and over!
She brought Tamarind back to walk and Abigail cheered! "See? You can do it!"
Sue grinned, she certainly could!
Abigail decided to finish the lesson there and then - to finish on such a good note was beneficial for both horse and rider. Sue got off and Abigail disappeared off into the feedroom in search for some tasty treats!
"Here you go" she said, presenting Sue with an apple and Tamarind with a haynet. "You both deserve these. Rewards all round!"
Sue thanked Abigail and gave Tam a massive hug. "Thank you both so much, I don't think I would have ever got back to where I was before the fall if it wasn't for this lesson! It's been a real confidence booster!" And with that, Sue went home, much happier and much more confident!
Abigail decided to let Tamarind have a little break between this and his next lesson as an extra reward, so she untacked him and let him loose in the school.
"You've outdone yourself today boy...enjoy!"
Tamarind galloped into the middle, threw his head up and reared!