It was with real sadness that we said au revoir – but not goodbye – this week to one of our star adult pupils, Jan.
Jan was one of the first adult riders I took on at George’s Ranch and at first I found her to be quite a nervous and hesitant rider. However, being a quietly determined character, Jan improved week upon week, and as her confidence grew so did her riding skills. But while it is always gratifying to see a rider respond so positively to instruction, the thing I especially liked about Jan was her dedication and commitment to the horse she loaned – our beautiful, but sensitive mare Phoebe.
Phoebe is not the easiest horse to manage on the ground, and sometimes not always under saddle, so Jan really had to take the skills she had learned from riding horses many years ago that were quite solid and adapt them to cope with a very nice, but sensitive mare. And I have to say, it has been a real pleasure watching the two of them grow together.
Jan and Phoebe were very much a partnership and they really did help each other through the past two years. Phoebe brought out the very best in Jan, boosting her confidence and making her a much more sensitive and thoughtful rider. In turn, Jan also helped Phoebe a lot. Phoebe was comfortable with her and Jan took exceptional care of the fly and skin conditions that afflict more sensitive horses like Phoebe in these hot summer months. It’s going that extra mile that really marks out the difference between riders. Although I have to say, many of our adult riders do enjoy getting involved.
Most people tend to think of riding lessons as being for the young, but we actually have quite a few adults learning to ride at the Ranch. In fact, I’ve had adults take their first lesson with me at the age of 65! However, in many cases, the adults who come to us – unless they’ve done it all their lives – come with a little experience and also a little baggage. Some maybe had a bad experience that caused them to stop riding, some might have simply grown up, had families and lost confidence. Whatever the reason, when adults return to riding we find they initially come back thinking they’ll give it a go and then they get hooked because it really opens up another side to their lives. In some respects, I think they come back with a second wind and really enjoy it because they suddenly remember how nice riding can actually be. Jan was one such rider – she completely loved it and thankfully she got out of it as much as she put in.
But of course, it’s not goodbye to Jan. Although she has returned to the UK she will be coming back to see us quite regularly and, of course, to ride Phoebe. It’s very sad that circumstance has taken her away from us and we will miss her, but we’ll also look forward to welcoming her home in the near future.
Another person we are also looking forward to welcoming is the talented rider/trainer Amy Woodhead.
Amy, who arrives on Wednesday, has competed at regional, national and international levels and has most recently worked alongside the internationally-renowned rider and trainer Carl Hester. She will be available for private lessons at the Ranch on Thursday Oct 13th, Friday Oct 14th, Saturday Oct 15th (morning only) and Sunday Oct 16th. Lessons are subject to availability so interested riders are advised to book early. Please contact Michelle for prices and further details on 996 47790.
George’s Ranch is also hosting a training workshop with Amy on Saturday Oct 15th focusing on four very different horses at different stages of their training including two warmblood youngsters working from medium level upwards, a recently retired nine-year-old racehorse, and a ten-year-old Irish cob who had never done any dressage before she came to Cyprus three months ago. The session will start at 1pm and the €20 entrance fee will include all four training sessions, a glass of bubbly and a chance to talk with Amy at the end of the programme.
And talking of bubbly, there was a lot to celebrate this weekend following another successful outing at the latest CYEF dressage competition. After passing her licence test, Hannah went on to compete in her first-ever CYEF show on Lily Milan and came in fourth, making her one of the youngest to be placed in the class. Young rider Ella also rode Lily and produced a very nice test for her first show. Wendy and her boy Vinnie continued to stack up the points, coming first in the elementary class and second in the medium. Meanwhile, Dasha and her lovely young horse Carro – who are limiting the number of shows they are attending this year in order to concentrate on their training – took first place at medium. Needless to say we all very proud of our riders. Go Team George’s Ranch!