Monday, December 16, 2013

Blackberry Stables Christmas Party

As a yard we all met up to join in the Christmas festivities (and to see what we all look like in our normal lives outside of the yard with non muck stained, horse slobber drenched clothes!!) We hardly recognized each other!!

So for one night we got to shed the hats, boots and jods to join together at Blackberry Stables Christmas Party. Its a rare occasion that you get to discuss your passion of horse riding while on a night out and others aren't glazing over or telling you to 'Stop rabbiting on about horse riding' but understand the fire that this past time ignites within its rider.

I'm not about to sit and write about the entire night and all our regalings about our equine endeavors however there was one moment that needs to be recorded.

Vincent Dempsey
Before our meal began Vincent Dempsey, Blackberry Stables owner made a speech, a sort of grace before meals if you will. He welcomed us all to the Christmas party and reminded us all why we were there by reading a poem of appreciation and admiration he had written about all the horses we all knew and loved. Luckily he granted me and you the reader the honor of sharing it with you.
(every name in bold is one of the crew of horses and ponies at Blackberry Stables)

Upon stirrup we sit astride, to ride the most majestic of animals, The Horse.
Tubs, A lady with grace, holds many unsteady a rider in place. 
Star, will teach you to canter, teach you to trot, sometimes teach you to fall - A LOT!!
Scooby, with elegance of an Arabian stallion slow on the sand, like wind through grass.
Trigger and Bart, two brothers in hoofs teaching many a child the pleasure, the passion, the moves.
Young king Arthur, steady and slow teaches us how to move, how to flow.
Dappled Oscar shows true kindness to all, never wanting anyone to take a tumble, a fall.
Aren't we the fortunate ones to be given wings, to be in union, to ride astride a Roman Centurion.

by Vincent Dempsey

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Bum Stutter

I just love this title and my self invented word - due to plenty of practice in the Bum Stutter.

So what is a Bum Stutter: it is when you are first trying to learn how to do rising trot. (Rising trot is when a rider rises from the saddle and sits in rhythm with the horse as they trot.) And a Bum Stutter is when you get the timing completely wrong and end up bouncing off the saddle hence creating a stutter in your rising trot.

Now the explanation of this action seems very simple however the enactment of such is VERY different particularly when only learning how to horse ride! The bum stutter gives you a type of instability in the saddle that makes you grip onto a mane, head, saddle, tail or ANYTHING in an attempt to not be bounced off and out of said saddle. It is also great fun and a challenge to try and get it right.

What I have been trying to achieve is a fluid motion of raising and sitting in time with my horses trot all the while squeezing my legs against the horses side every time I sit in order to keep the trot going. So this is like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time - a gift I was not endowed with when I was child!

You also find out where your seat bones are located in your derriƩre as I have DEFINITELY bruised these for sure. This pain in you rear quarters is coupled with crippling leg pain that makes it hard to get out of the bed and walking down stairs, NIGHTMARE. The more you try to use your leg to get and keep your horse trotting the more your building up the strength and muscle. However just like any gym like or aerobic activity it does carry the afterburn!

When you get it right!
I GOT it and can I tell you the feeling was AMAZING, in time and in tune with my trusty steed Tubs. When you get it right a connection or bond is created between you and your horse and I felt it. It is hard to describe, I can only compare it to when I was learning how to dance and my dance partner and I got the timing and the steps right and it was fluid. A type of magic is created in those moments, that spark spurs me on to continue and improve my equine education. (oh yea and this magic carries with it a spell of amnesia, you forget the pains and discomforts, as the pleasure of the experience is worth every ache)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Who am I and What is this all about!!!!

My name is Clodagh aka "The Glamorous Gaucho" (self acclaimed title). I'm a 21st century lady in her thirties who doesn't mind getting her hands dirty and a dab hand at DIY if I do say so myself! However I am a girly girl and not a tom boy who always likes to retain her womanly and fashion conscious status!! My new aim is trying to sustain my ladylikeish / fashionista status while learning how to horse ride hence the self acclaimed new title!!! WHAT a challenge!!!
The Glamorous Gaucho & Arthur in action
I have always dreamed about being a horse rider and thought at some stage I would take it up. My dream's fruition began last year when I took my first proper lesson in Blackberry Stables, Laragh, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. I say proper lesson as I had been on horses before and I had joined in an equestrian club in college to, what I had hoped was to begin my horse riding hobby. However only on my first lesson in Blackberry Stables with instructor Vincent Dempsey did I realize that I had never had a proper lesson up to that point!

So what do i mean a 'Proper Lesson'?
Well when Vincent aka Vinnie asked me to walk Tubs (aka The lady of the yard) I kicked with both legs and she walked for a few steps then would stop so I'd kick again and she'd dutifully do the same walk for a few steps then stop. Then Vincent asked me to trot and I kicked again but to no avail Tubs would walk but NOPE no trot. So even though I had been horse riding for a whole semester in college it took me this first lesson to realize these essential points of horse riding:

1.  I did not know that you must give an aid to walk the whole time you want your horse to walk.
Meaning - you tap your left leg then your right in time and sync with the horse - just as if you are walking with the horse and not just sitting there.

2. You must change your aid to communicate with the horse that you want to trot. 
Meaning - you tap both your legs in quick succession to let the horse know you want to trot and squeeze every time you sit in order to maintain the trot. (for rising trot)

The penny finally dropped after this lesson that I had never actually had a lesson at all. All I had had was a pony ride but not a horse riding lesson. And thus my true journey of horse riding began......

I hope to use this blog as a diary to record my gallantrous efforts and spectacular failings at becoming a horse rider while always trying to maintaining my title of 'The Glamorous Gaucho'.