Although Rachel’s Monday evening novices lesson has been up and running already for several weeks this year, it was Friday 25 January before the more seasoned members of the club shrugged off their seasonal cobwebs and returned to riding club activity.
Patricia Warren manhandled a whopping cold and bronchitis to direct nine pupils on a remarkably clement winter’s evening. Cyril enjoyed a flatwork lesson at six o’clock while Paddy, Tanya and Liz turned to jumping in the 7pm lesson. By the time Rachel, Francis, Damien and Libby entered the arena at 8pm, the wind was up but the rain stayed away.
Patricia concentrated on the quality of the canter, expertly dealing with the extreme variety of specimens within a single class. In the late group that meant juggling the wound-up speed merchants, Zak and Bella, with the warm-blooded slow coaches, Fenway and Millie. In every case she helped their respective riders produce some much-improved work through exercises with jumping on a circle, progressing to a short circuit of small jumps.
Although certain individuals wondered whose bright idea it was to organise a league that had to be prepared for in the middle of winter, there was no doubting the feeling of achievement at the end of the exercise. It’s always worth the effort.