* = Well, in a way! He ended up jumping over the instructor’s dog when she wandered in front of us.
Yes, I do cringe when I see how tightly I’m holding the reins, but at the time, didn’t want him wandering off mid-shot!
This is Shazzie. He’s long gone now, but he was the best pony I’ve ever ridden. Due to a few bad experiences at the last riding school I’d been to, my confidence had been shot to pieces. I didn’t feel comfortable going at anything faster than a walk, let alone trotting.
However, I decided to go somewhere new, and see if I wanted to carry on. The new riding school was only just up the road from my house, so I could easily walk there.
Got put on Shazzie. A 20 year old Arab x Welsh schoolmaster, who’d been there, done that and worn the T-shirt. Yes, he looked his age, but he wasn’t ready to retire. There was still life in the old boy. From the moment I sat in the saddle, he looked after me. If I wanted him to halt, he’d halt. When I wanted to increase the pace a little bit, he’d do just that. He started rebuilding my confidence from that very first lesson. Although, don’t think either me or my instructor expected him to jump over her dog! The dog was a little terrier type, and she wandered in front of Shazzie while he was trotting round the school. I didn’t have time to turn him off the track, so … yes, ended up jumping over her instead. The dog suffered no harm at all from that little escapade!
I’ve never forgotten Shazzie, or my instructor, and I never will. I owe them both so much.