Baby steps

Fun at Fannin Hill Farm

March 30, 2012

A couple weeks ago, my trainer took a small group of us to Fannin Hill Farm where we schooled our horses over cross country jumps, or in my case, practiced trotting over and jumping small obstacles. (Baby steps!) I’ve been to Fannin Hill several times before, and Tank and I always have a blast there—I don’t know if it’s the change of scenery or what, but we usually wind up riding at a higher level than we do at home. Like people, horses like a change of pace, so usually we all—horses and humans—have a terrific time. This day was no different. (Special thanks to Holly Bryan for sharing her photos from the day.)

Me and Tank

 For me, Fannin Hill is the perfect combination of challenge and safety. Each section of the farm has a number of jumps of various sizes and styles and plenty of room for each rider to jump or not as she sees fit. If you’re not jumping, you can trot or canter on the flat, or simply hang out and watch the others. You’re never too far away from “the herd” so your horse doesn’t get anxious about being left behind, as he might on a trail ride. There are also hills to walk up and down (good conditioning for the horse). At Fannin Hill, I’m more easily able to step outside my comfort zone—maybe because of the extra adrenaline or the element of trying to keep up with girls who could be my daughters!

Doesn't Tank have a beautiful face?
My lesson buddy Emily, with Jessie:

All dressed up to go home (in protective shipping boots and helmet):

The positive effects of a visit to Fannin Hill carry over into my riding at home—I have more confidence in myself and my horse and we usually take a step forward in our work together. And what could be more fun than spending time with my horse and some of my horsey friends? As Gayle, our trainer said, “Aren’t horses the best hobby ever?!”

What have you done just for fun lately? Did you step outside your comfort zone? What did you learn?