When you are riding by yourself with other people in the arena….
These are the other riders you can often meet…..
It doesn’t matter how big the arena is or how much you try to ride exercises and movements in your own space – the magnet will gravitate towards you and stick to you for the entire time making it impossible to practice anything except escape. If you try to hide, they will find you. Magnets are usually completely oblivious to the fact that they are essentially following you around the arena as they have no concept of herd instinct or of asking their horse to ride independently.
Parasites are deliberately territorial creatures. No matter how big or busy or empty an arena is, should you be riding in a chosen part of it the parasite will enter the arena, choose the same part, ride into you and on top of you until you either murder them or you feck off to a different place for the sake of your sanity and safety. The parasite will happily assume your part of the arena and pretend it never happened.
The spectre has a horse that spooks at a specific part of the arena. As soon as they mount they will approach this part of the arena in a confrontational angle, wait for the horse to spook, over react emotionally and then spend half an hour telling everyone how annoying the horse is for spooking while trying to force the horse to ride head first into the fire breathing dragon causing the spook. The concept of riding in another part of the arena first or gradually approaching the area / item of terror from a different angle does not compute.
Loves and lives for rules. Takes unmerciful delight in shouting out any misdemeanor of another rider. Has the ability to roar ‘LEFT HAND TO LEFT HAND’ or ‘YOU NEED TO PICK UP THAT POO’ in a voice that can be heard three counties over. Is almost ecstatic when they get the chance to tell someone they are on the wrong leg or should be walking off the track.
Gets on, rides, gets off. Does not make eye contact or conversation with other riders. Treats every schooling session like a government mission.
The Poo Gifter
Allows their horse to poo all over the arena, ignores it, brings horse out of the arena and someone else ends up having to pick it up. When confronted about this the poo gifter will feign complete ignorance at the fact that their horse actually had a poo even if the horse halted, grunted, groaned and left a molehill of it that they had to ride around afterwards.
Needs a Sat Nav aka the Bat
The bat is usually operating on three basic senses, smell, touch and taste and would need a sat nav to negotiate a busy arena without causing bodily harm to themselves or others. They are either blind as a bat or unable to look at anything except their horses withers or their hands. They literally have no concept of the rules of the school and will navel gaze around the arena oblivious to anything in their path. Other riders will opt to ride around the bat because a head on collision is entirely possible. A bat riding a very big horse or a very solid animal is of significant danger and other riders should avoid the perilous position of being on the outside track when the bat is approaching at speed. Other riders should avoid jumping when the bat is in the arena as the bat is likely to appear in oblivious close proximity on approach or landing.
Terrified of a Young Horse
How do you know this rider is on a young or green horse? Oh don’t worry, they will tell you and will shriek ‘im on a young horse’ or ‘give me space’ in a terrified high pitched voice whenever another horse or rider appear on their radar. These riders probably should be on an old schoolmaster but instead are terrified and require 15 metres of space all around them to cope with riding in company. The horse itself will be going around with its eyes on stalks snorting like a dragon in terror of the wailing banshee up top.
The Free Instructor
It doesn’t matter if you booked a lesson or not – you are getting one. The free instructor will ride their horse a little, watch you and then park up and tell you in detail what you are doing wrong instead in great detail. At times this can be helpful if the person in question is actually an instructor and knows something of interest but often it will be an over enthusiastic horse and country tv subscriber instead.
Shoulda Gone to the Gym
These riders come into the arena especially at busy times with headphones jammed so far down their ears and the volume cranked up so high you could land a helicopter on their horses ass without them realising until they were ejected from the saddle. They ignore others riders, ignore the rules of the school and go off riding around in their own imaginary music video. When roared at by an exasperated rider who they have ridden onto or into they will make a great display of annoyance at having to halt, remove an earphone and explain that they cannot hear you – no sh*t Sherlock.
Will not shut up talking at high volume to their horse. This ranges from aggressive mode with ‘STOP IT, STOP STOP STOP NO STOP’ when displeased to horsemanship mode purring ‘GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD BOOOOOOOOOOY’ on repeat when the horse doesn’t try to kill them. The preacher will switch from aggressive to horsemanship mode about every twenty metres.
The Lazy Rider
The lazy rider sees actually riding their horse as a chore and will have already procrastinated for an hour before tacking up. They prefer grooming or to walk and talk to anyone available than to actually ride the horse. They might ride with purpose for five minutes and then reward themselves with a fifteen minute break at walk or halt while chatting to anyone available. Neither horse nor rider is likely to break a sweat. They are happiest hacking with friends on a long rein at walk.
Will tack up their horse with boots on every limb, bubble wrap it and then fret constantly that the horse is ‘not right’. Will perpetually ask everyone else if the horse looks okay. Happiest when the horse isn’t okay as they have something specific to worry about rather than the mystery issues in their imagination. They are afraid to ride the horse for fear of breaking it.
Will turn up when everyone else is riding on the flat, gallop full tilt around the arena roaring ‘JUMPING’ scattering others in various directions as they land like a rocket and hare off again.
The Instagram Model
Will spend ages decking themselves and the horse out in premium matchy matchy outfits just to ride at home for half an hour. Always has impeccable hair and make-up and is most likely to bring a friend along to get some leisure photos to post later on social media filtered like fook to appear more like they roam about in a sun glazed yard in st tropez than a damp mucky one in Ireland.
Willy wonkas have a world of imagination. To talk to one before seeing them on a horse you would be blown away by their depth of knowledge and experience. They may not have ever competed much themselves but can tell you how easy it is and where the actual competitors could have improved. Sadly when you see them ride you realise that what they described as working on medium and collected canter is actually an unbalanced hollow high speed lollop around the arena with occasional pulling of the hand break. They won’t know what the contact is and may use legs like a sealion. Most riders are inclined at this point to feel sorry for the willy wonka but this usually remedies itself when the willy wonka proceeds to detail how well they rode and then critiques the other riders riding or tells them how easy their horse is compared to theirs.
The talented balanced star arrives in and proceeds to ride beautifully inspiring awe in every other rider in the arena. They will make what you are struggling to attempt look easy and will have a natural balance and grace on the horse. Other riders will want to hate the star but usually they are so damn nice that it isn’t possible to.
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