Today I had a long overdue ride at Sabine Zuckmantel’s Wanderreiten im Havelland, the stable that features in the last chapter of If Wishes Were Horses. Half the horses were away (along with Sabine) on a ride in Poland, so we were a small group, and I was assigned the yard’s Queen Mother, Etincelle. Etincelle is a purebred barb. I rode her on my first ride at Wanderreiten im Havelland, and the first draft of the book ended on Etincelle but was later scrapped, so I owe her a blog post – the least I can do for royalty. She’s twenty seven years young but one of only two horses at the stable that sometimes take a bit of stopping after a canter. The other is Elme, a twenty-eight-year-old Lipizzaner from Piber. I don’t know all the finer print of Sabine’s horsekeeping routine, other than that it involves living out all year round in a herd, but let me tell you, it really agrees with “aged” mares.
As ever, the countryside was stunning and the weather was even just right for riding. Some sun, some wind, little specks of rain. On the numerous canters I tried to apply what I learned in my classical lesson earlier this year, as patiently explained by Sue Barber at Pine Lodge School of Classical Equitation:
1) You, the saddle and the horse all move forward together
2) Therefore there is no need to rock backwards and forwards with your pelvis
3) Especially as the saddle and the horse do not move backwards at any time
4) So your movement in the saddle should be up-down. Because that is how the horse is moving relative to you, and therefore you need to move with it.
Etincelle put up with me at any rate and was rewarded with a very juicy pear and a good roll.
(for Penelope Chetwode reference, see here)