So here we are! Exactly 1 year since Nigel my OTTB came home with me to Johnson Equestrian to start his re-education. What better way to reminisce than a countdown of my top 5 memorable horsey moments over the last year! Of course I could talk about 20 or 30 more memories, but these 5 are my most favourite by far.
Number 5. Our first ride at home, which also happens to be the very beginning of Nigel’s re-training from racehorse to riding horse.
This moment reminds me of exactly how far we have come together. From a green horse who couldn’t do a 10m circle and didn’t understand a leg aid to a beautiful, willing horse who can jump and do a pretty damn good turn on the haunches (I may be a little biased!).
This was also the first time I’ve brought a horse back into work AND I’m so glad I did it. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard! But there are so many valuable things I have learnt from this experience that I wouldn’t give up just because it was hard.
Our first ride at home – May 2017.
Number 4. The first time we cantered a full lap of the arena.
Now, I hear you saying “huh? What’s great about that?”. Well, Nigel was 18 months out of work, wouldn’t pick up canter left and cantered completely sideways on the right lead. There’s nothing scarier than unintentionally heading completely sideways towards a jump in canter! It took quite a bit of work to build up to that lap around the arena and it’s something I’ve always been super proud of.
Nigel’s sideways, head tossing canter from the early days – August 2017.
Number 3. Overcoming the nervous Equestrian inside me to teach Nigel how to jump.
Ok, so it’s not like we’re doing Grand Prix or anything, BUT this is an achievement for me AND for Nigel! We’ve had a few questionable moments in our training (knocking poles and bolting, doing the sideways dash before a jump, the ‘zig zag’ approach, just to name a few), but we are making progress and getting more confident every day!
I started with a horse that stumbled and fell over the smallest of cross rails and can now confidently jump 50-60cm (I promise it feels bigger than it seems!).
Show jumping training – May 2018.
Number 2. Having the opportunity to learn and grow as an equestrian.
There’s a blog I wrote back in August last year called “Why it’s important to surround yourself with good horsey people”. And I am super grateful that I get to be a part of #teamj! I have had support with training Nigel every step of the way AND as an added bonus, I’ve also met so many awesome horsey people too.
The best thing about doing what you love is having people to enjoy the journey with. People who share in your wins and losses, the good and the bad and in all your achievements however big or small.
My coach and mentor, Christine Johnson from Johnson Equestrian in Nelson, NSW.
Number 1. The day I brought Nigel home!
No doubt this memory was always going to be number 1! I can’t beat that moment of happiness and adventure. It only feels like yesterday Nigel came home, but I guess time flies with you’re having fun!
Happy 1 year anniversary Nigey, you are so loved.
The day Nigel came home – 20th May 2017.
All “Johnson Equestrian” photos by Christine Johnson.