As I learnt to walk, I learnt to ride
By Tegan Baker
I have been an avid equestrian all of my life. As I learnt to walk, I learnt to ride. I was that pony-mad kid who wore tops with My Little Ponies proudly printed on the front and was glued to reading the stories of K.M Peyton and Lauren Brooke.
From the age of ten, I volunteered at local stables and worked my way up to be a riding instructor at age sixteen. At this time I was blessed to have my own pony with my mum, a New Forest called Storm. To say he changed my life would be an understatement. No matter what stress I faced with both my personal and university life, he was always there to comfort me. When I became ill with a chronic illness in 2014, I worried about how I would cope with my university work, yet he was a constant source of relief and support.
The bond between horse and rider is based on a mutual trust that is incomparable to any human bond. Whilst many are incredibly lucky to have their own horse, there a lots of ways to get involved and experience their calming aura. Tamsin Doar, Vice Captain of Royal Holloway Riding said, ‘Riding is about the relationship between you and the horse. The only time that you can be truly successful is when you are solely focused on working as a team to achieve that aim. For that reason, riding completely erases any other stress you have. A horse can’t judge you for how you look, how you’re feeling or your plans after graduation.’
You may be thinking, ‘Isn’t horse riding expensive?’ This is where the riding club comes in. Similar to all sports, riding can be costly to partake in. However, Royal Holloway Riding gives you the opportunity to experience both lessons and competitive riding at affordable prices. Tamsin said, ‘A lot of people assume that to be able to join Riding you have to have an endless pit of money. However, it is nowhere near as bad as it seems – our club lessons are brilliant value for money. You are grouped in terms of ability so everyone is working towards common aims. We’re really proud of how affordable we’ve made our lessons.’ The Club rides at Super Duper Farm in Chobham, which means it has access to the essential benefits for first timers and novices.
There are also an abundance of free opportunities for students to be involved with horses. Some riding schools and rescue centres will willingly take volunteers. Despite not being able to ride this way, just surrounding yourself with these calm and intelligent animals is stress relief in itself. Whatever your budget or situation, I believe everyone can enjoy the benefits of interacting with horses and I hope you are encouraged to give it a go.
To find out more about Royal Holloway Riding, check out their Facebook page or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured image courtesy of Super Duper Farm on Facebook