About Alison

A feisty mother earth type, who has an opinion about everything I would like to think I use my "chopsy" attitude to throw some light and perhaps a new slant on current social and cultural issues.

Since I moved to the country for a quiet life I have been lucky enough to create a more healthy more relaxed environment for myself. I love country life, Family, Friends, Horses and Dogs. I also love, photography, writing/chatting and connecting with others.

Please have a look at a collection of my photos blog,


or join in on my chats here or on my otherblog


which follows my efforts to learn to ride and care for horses in my 50s! or just follow me on Twitter and I will follow you back (if you are a real person) on @alisonbarton1. Enjoy and talk to me.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Oh Whoa is me!

I love riding, I love horses and yet I currently feel a sense of dissatisfaction and unease that is taking away my joy. Oh whoa!! Is me.

It started last week when I squeezed an extra lesson in, the day after a hard day at RDA (riding for the disabled) where I help out. I was introduced to something new. My “fab” instructor was getting me to work on my contact. This old bird (me not my Instructor) hasn’t been riding under instruction long, you understand. I am probably at the level of the keen 8 year old, with the disadvantage of 52 year old bones, muscles and a bit too much weight. (Ok much too much, weight to be honest).

This new lesson involved wrapping my fingers around the reins, like I was holding a bird not too tight, so as to squeeze it, but tight enough so it couldn’t fly away, One problem they kept slipping through my fingers and I kept “loosing contact”. I needed to give with my elbows, but I found the more I tried the more my arms stiffened up. There seemed to be a complete break down between brain and arms. I was actually looking at my arms saying stay loose. Then when I got some movement I was moving my hands round in circles looking like the wheels on a steam train. Oh I felt such an idiot. I appreciated the patience I was being given but couldn’t find any for myself.

We went back to walk to concentrate on my arms and the rhythm of the horse but no, I was rubbish. A few weeks ago I couldn’t sit to the canter, now my seat has improved, go me! And I was on a bit of a high from that achievement. Rightly I was being encouraged to move on, but I felt everything unravelling. So I came away a little fed up but resolved to keep going and go back and try again next week, I told myself I was tired and not to beat myself up.

Yesterday I went back and if anything I was worse, my transitions into canter were ok but as I tried to concentrate on my hands my seat got bumpy my legs were a mess and I felt so sorry for Flaire. My weight was banging on her back, I had this jagged contact with her mouth. What the hell was I doing I love horses don’t I The wind was getting up and it felt a bit unsettling. After the cool down we dismounted .I was just sliding up the stirrups when the horses, started pulling away and moving round. One of my friends was pulled clean off her feet, by her horse turning around in fear of the wind. We managed to settle them and then another gust and the same thing happened to me flat on my back, my poor horse worried and wanting to get away, I had let go of her reins. I didn’t hurt myself and Flaire was soon listening to me and walking quietly back to the stable. I untacked her, talked gently to her and gave her a feed (and an extra couple of carrots). The uneasiness hasn’t left me, I am not frightened, I know horses are big animals that can be unpredictable, that’s OK. I am pants and I am not sure I should ride her and subject her to my rubbish riding. I could loose weight and I am trying but its not going to fall off in a week. Part of my fitness regime includes riding, after all. I am really uneasy and sad that the joyfulness I discovered is evaporating I would feel bereaved if I stopped now. I want to work through this but how? Hold on I suppose!

Alison x