While at a neighborhood/country party a few months back, I met some members of the Old People’s Riding Club. Since I am in desperate need for more horse riding inspiration, I decided to sign up. On Saturday, I had my first official rating.
If you are familiar with Pony Club (and I’m not really), it’s basically run as as Pony Club for old people, old being over 21 years of age. I always wanted to join Pony Club when I was a kid, but I ended up in Pony Club’s less refined cousin, 4-H, where we did heathen things like ride western. Now I have my chance to redo my own slightly under privileged childhood.
The first rating is apparently D-1. I showed up woefully under prepared (like I do to most things), with a barely groomed horse, and tack that I wiped off with a dish towel moments before entering the ring for the rating. Luckily, Vintage, my mount of choice because I didn’t want to deal with a case of the stupids, has a nice appy pattern that hides most dirt. You people with your fancy solid colored horses don’t realize how nice it is to have a horse that people can’t tell if you groomed or not. Instead, I get comments on what unique coloring she has.
First, I was asked to name about parts of the saddle. Even though I practiced this with Dave, my mind went totally blank. I stared at my saddle for what seemed like an eternity, before deciding that stirrups were part of my saddle. Then to my horror, I had to point out where they were located. OMG where are the stirrups?!
It was a classic case of forgetting everything I know because I’m in a testing format. Next up, I had to list parts of the horse. I tried to get away with pointing out that Vintage has eyes, with eyelashes on them, but my tester informed me this was an unsatisfactory answer. I stumbled through some parts I got wrong on the leg, before my tester took pity on me and asked me where a stifle is. I happily pointed that one out.
Somehow, I passed listing parts, and we moved on. After a few more questions, I got on Vintage with only minimal help of Dave holding her still. I really was getting the full pony club experience!
We did some walk and trotting, and trotted over some ground poles.
Vintage reminded me of how little flat work I’ve been doing with her by keeping her nose firmly in giraffe position nearly the whole time, making me look and feel like the beginner I wish I wasn’t. Stop embarrassing me horse!
Then she had me canter a bit, although it wasn’t part of the test, and then left me in the ring for a bit where I did lots of bending and serpentines and Vintage relaxed and carried herself nicely. Then the tester came back, and her head immediately went back in the air. Maybe this relates to stress when I feel like I’m being judged?
But regardless, I ended up passing and am now officially a level D-1. Hurrah! I’m officially a beginner rider!
Afterward, we went to watch the Hunter Derby at Upperville, and on the way home I sobbed and blubbered on about how I’ll never be as good a rider as any of them. WAAAAAAHHHH.