A bit of background about my experiences with horses and what led me to my determination to find a different way of working with horses.
I'm not sure where my interest in horses came from, certainly no-one in my family, but my Mum managed to afford fortnightly lessons for me when I was at high school. I continued my riding at university and was lucky enough to share my first horse, Bertie, in my twenties. He was a dream come true and real escapism from the difficulties of life at first, but then, perhaps due to my inexperience and naiveté, he started to get difficult and I lost my nerve, so our partnership ended. I think I'd handle it differently now, but hindsight is a wonderful thing...
I started lessons again in my late twenties, but when I think back I always got nervous when I rode. I really wanted to do it, but somehow didn't have the confidence or skill to really enjoy it. I mechanically followed instructions, trying to do the 'right thing'. My lack of confidence, alongside the exuberance of the equine world meant that I didn't challenge or ask questions. I knew that I didn't get or like some of the ways of working with horses, but had no idea why or how it could be different.
Life happened and I stopped riding. I got married, had two daughters and concentrated on my career for a bit. The love of horses didn't wane but I couldn't fit it in, financially or time-wise. Until the beginning of 2018, when I decided that I will ride again somehow. It was the first goal of my 50-by-50 list (I still had 5 years, but was looking ahead!), and probably the most important to me.
I joined a local Facebook equestrian group and booked a lesson at a riding school. Much as it was great to be back in the saddle, the instructor told me (after a 15 year break) that there was nothing I could do to improve. I knew that wasn't correct, so I didn't book another lesson with them. Soon after, a lady advertised for a rider for her horses, for a small contribution. I explained my nerves and gaps in riding, but nevertheless she was kind enough to let me ride her 16hh horse, George. George was a proper gentleman, and looked after me wherever we went. We had some great times and I rode him for around 18 months, until we had to move yards and George went on loan to someone else. He will always have a special place in my heart.
A new challenge was set as I started to ride a young cob called Monty. Monty was newly backed and we learnt a lot together. He was immature and had attitude - we had many ups and downs. Again, with hindsight I'd like to have spent time doing some groundwork with him and getting to know him, earning his trust, but I was one of a number of riders, and saw him once or twice a week.
Sadly, as time went on my confidence waned and I felt that Monty and I were not a good match. He needed a strong leader who would not be phased by his tantrums and I was not in a position to work on this. I learnt a lot with Monty am proud to have at least two achievements with him:
I learnt how to sit a few bucks
I improved my balance in the saddle
I rode out a few times on my own (not done since my twenties)
I did my first 'fun ride' and got my first rosette.
So it was June 2021 and I wasn't sure how I would move forward with my riding, but knew I had to find a different way to be with horses that suits me (although wasn't sure what that looked like). I had thoughts of getting my own horse again but also wanted to rebuild my confidence.
Once again the universe heard me and last Summer Jenny Rolfe advertised for help with her 3 Spanish stallions in return for some training. I hadn't heard of Jenny and looked up her website and was very excited to read that she was working with horses using breath-energy and natural herd language.
Is this the different way of working with horses that I was looking for?
I am using this blog to share my experiences and training, and my thought processes as I strive to work in a way that is true to myself and being the best I can be for myself and others I work with.
Jenny Rolfe's website: https://www.naturallyclassical.com