Unless you’ve chosen a career in the equestrian industry, it’s likely that you’ve had to go for at least a small period of time without a horse in your life.
Perhaps you took a break when studying, moving house or to have children. Perhaps you just decided to hang up your boots for a while as you’d become disenchanted with the sport.
But for the true horsey guys and gals out there, riding never stays out of your life for good.
Here are six things you might have experienced if you’ve come back to the horse world after a break…
1. Your riding abilities might not be the same
After a few years out of the saddle, chances are you’ll be a little rusty when you first get back on a horse (and you’ll probably remember your past abilities with rose tinted specs). Once you’ve remembered how to mount a horse, hold the reins and do rising trot, you’re half way there. Simple exercises — such as leg-yielding — might blow your mind and you’ll need to be patient with yourself on those first few attempts back on board. But stick with it, you’ll be a pro again in no time!
2. You have forgotten how to do basic tasks
Your Google history will now contain questions such as ‘which middleweight rug is best?’ Or ‘how do I long-rein my horse?’. Things you used to do without thinking now leave you scratching your head. You’ll probably also notice that your body — as well as your brain — has forgotten how to ride, so invest in some Epsom salts to deal with any aches and pains you get after those first few hacks.
3. Your methods and equipment might be old fashioned
Your sentences will now start with ‘everything was so much easier in my day’, and you’ll be shocked at the modifications we have made to save time, money and effort. Think exercise boots with velcro fastenings instead of leg bandages, false tails and automatic water drinkers. There are lots of modcons and gadgets on the market for both you and your horse, and soon you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them…
4. Your horsey friends will still be there
Chances are that old friend you used to go hacking with every weekend is still there, possibly living at the same address with the same horse. Why not stop by and rekindle those friendships?
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5. Your scene will have changed
If you’re coming back in to competition after a hiatus, expect that the environment you’re in will have inevitably changed, grown or developed with the times. Societies, event locations, class regulations and competition structures might be unrecognisable, so ensure you’ve devoured an up-to-date rule book before you step back into show mode.
6. It’s still an incredible way of life
No matter how long you’ve been away for, being an equestrian is still one of the most fulfilling and rewarding ways to live. And that will never, ever change!
For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday