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5 riders you might meet when you go to your first post-lockdown training clinic

After what seems like a lifetime of lockdown, it’s no wonder we’re all itching to get out and about with our horses, who also appear in need of a change of scenery from those same three hacking routes. Despite social distancing and other measures still being in place, riders are now permitted to recommence training and lessons, and several trainers are hosting clincs so we can be on top form once competition gears up again.

Here are five types of riders you might see on those first group lessons post-lockdown…

1. The one who has been putting the work in

I’m sure she couldn’t do flying changes or jump that high when I saw her out before Christmas?! It would appear that some riders have been making the most of their abundance of free time and have spent the majority of furlough in the arena putting in the hours. Their horse has made some serious improvements, and you’re impressed. In fact, their polished transitions, perfect leg yields and horse’s muscled top line is making you wonder if you and your steed have been some what slacking.

2. The one who hasn’t been riding (much or at all)

This rider’s face is just pure panic. They’ve been enjoying, and rightly so, the free time lockdown has presented and instead of taking the approach of rider one — train insane or remain the same — they have been trying new things, such as baking, sunbathing and other hobbies you can’t normally enjoy as a chaotic, working horse rider. You can see them trying to compute all the trainer’s tips and advice, but everything seems to be going in one ear and out the other. Both horse and rider are admittedly pretty unfit after a few months of relaxing to the max, and they only booked onto the session last minute when they heard that competitions are only just around the corner…

3. The one on the youngster

Lockdown has changed a lot of plans for a lot of people. While most young horses are traditionally backed and ridden away during winter, many riders have opted to use lockdown and the lack of a season to start these horses off in the summer weather. In theory this was a lovely idea but you now find yourself in the middle of an open field perched on top of a very novice, excitable four-year-old. And you can’t believe you forgot the neck strap, today of all days…

4. The children who are still off school

Your childless self thought you’d make the most of a mid-week clinic in the hope that it would be a civilised occassion with just a few other adults in tow. However, you completely forgot that school is still out so you’re actually the oldest in the group by 30-something years. They might be half your size but the majority of these kids can probably ride better than you and their parent’s rigid lockdown schedule — which includes a lot more riding than home schooling — means they’re actually on track to be part of the next Olympic team, so get ready to feel inadequate.

Continued below…


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5. The one who’s just happy to be there

Even the trainer’s exasperated tones and shouty instructions couldn’t put a dampner on this rider’s day; they’re just delighted to be back out and they have not stopped smiling since their lorry pulled into the yard. We love this happy horse person’s energy and we wish we could take some of it home with us, because after one lap of asking our nag for an outline we’re already regretting returning to training this early…

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