As an intern at the ranch, you have to get a horse riding orientation to be able to take part in any riding-related activities here. As an experienced English rider, I was looking forward to learn more about the western way to ride, western gear… I always wanted to know more about western horse riding but never got the chance to be properly introduced to the Western style.
During my first week, I had the opportunity to have my horse riding orientation with two other new staff members. We first had an introduction of the barn, we found saddles that fit us and we took some horses out. I felt really excited to learn new things about horses! With the help of our instructor, we learnt how to properly tack them. We looked at how she tacked her horse and then we had to prepare ours. I was riding Steel, a beautiful white mare with quite the personality! It impressed me how heavy the western tack is! The basic rules are also different so it felt awkward sometimes because I had to get used to a new way of doing everything.
When everyone was ready, we could finally get on the horses and go to Gymkhana. Once there, we had to try to walk our horses around and try to direct them properly. It felt really different than English riding because your reins are loose, your stirrups are long and the horses seem more sensitive to the movement of your hands and reins. Once everybody got more comfortable, we tried to trot and to go over small logs… It was really great to see how wonderful Jing felt too, it was one of her first-time riding! We also, each one after the other, tried to complete the barrel race circuit … walking at first and then trotting.
On another day, we went for a trail ride as the second part of our riding orientation. I rode Scout who was really nice and tried to eat every leaf on his way! We had amazing scenery and it was a truly exciting experience. We followed our guide into the bush had to repeat every instruction he said so that even at the back of the line they could know what they’re supposed to do or what to expect. At some point we got down because we had to release two horses in the bush so they could enjoy the fresh Mountain air and grass. After everyone was ready to go, we got back on our horses and continued our trip around the ranch. At the end it was really steep so we had to get down and walk next to the horses. It got really dusty but it lasted only a few minutes. We got back to the ranch safely and freed the horses into the corral.
It was a tiring day because it was full of new experiences and knowledge but it made it really exciting too! Learning about western horse riding was one of my main motivation to come to the ranch and I got to know a lot more right from my first week!