I recently completed a basic horseback riding course at the Police Mounted Branch.
It was a lovely experience! I got to meet and interact with 23 horses which all have different personalities.
We began riding in the yard near the stables on quarter horses which are the smaller horses. My horse was Fannon, a 25 year old gelding whose coat is sorrel. Fannon is a sweetheart even though he tends to spook easily. The first time we rode in the riding school the cadets were having band practice. When they hit the bass drum Fannon would try to run away. I was totally unprepared the first time but eventually I learned to recognize when he was getting scared so I could calm him down.
Even though Fannon was my main beginner horse, I had the opportunity to ride Hero, an ex-racehorse who doesn’t know the meaning of “slowly” and Flame who is Fannon’s brother. I also got to ride Fiona who was the shortest horse there. She earned the nickname “Twinkletoes” because her steps were so short and dainty compared to the other horses.
Eventually I graduated to the larger warmblood horses. My first experience on a warmblood was with Hannibal, a grey horse who rolls around his stall and gets dirty all the time. I’ve come to the conclusion that poor Hannibal just wants to be brown like the other horses.
Then I met Harmony, one of the sweetest horses ever! We bonded on the first ride. On our way back to the stable the cadet band stared to play. This spooked a horse at the front of the ride which set off a chain reaction of spooked horses and Harmony decided to gallop home with me on her back. Thankfully we both came out still standing after that ordeal.
I rode Harmony for many of the classes afterward but her leg got injured and she had to be put on sick leave. While she was healing I rode Hailey, Hyper, Harry and Gabriel.
On the last day of class I was given the good news that Harmony’s leg was well enough for me to ride her so I ended class with a bang with my girl Harmony 🙂
I graduated from the basic class and I have moved on to the advanced class where the adventures continue!