Covid 19 Notice:

All RDAI activities have been suspended since 12th March. We are currently working on protocols for a safe return to riding and carriage driving in due course. Further information will be updated on this website as soon as it becomes available.

One major disappointment for me with the lock-down is the total cancellation of horse-riding. They do not seem to have any Covid regulations to keep it going with. I hope they can move to the next re-opening stage soon. Then I can get back to Festina lente. Horse-riding has many benefits, both therapeutic and in terms of fitness. It can subtly work your muscles without you even knowing it, but you may over time find more suppleness in your arms and legs.

You will find yourself loving horses so much that you will want to ride them all day long. (even though they make a huge amount of mess and will ‘’bomb off’’ anywhere). I have not yet done the horse-show at the RDS and this was actually the year I was supposed to do it. Last year, I decided I was not yet feeling ready for it and would do it the NEXT year, but the Covid has been an unexpected turn of events which got in the way of what was meant to take place. I did, however, visit the horse-show that year and it was a wonderful event. We had show-jumping, people greeting the crowd dressed as horses (but up on hind legs and wearing human clothing) and we got to see a mother horse with its foal in their own pen. There were also great lunch options, but its more limiting if you need a gluten-free option. A small bit of gluten is okay, but when the people you’re with are also intolerant... actually being AT a horse show is more exciting than seeing one on telly. It was disappointing though, that none of the show-jumpers managed not to knock over any poles. Even if you’re not so into horses, I would still recommend seeing the RDS for everybody, if it were not for the Covid.

Though I have only so far done riding and not many other horsey activities like horse-grooming or stable management, I think I have learned about different personalities in horses. Some are very wild, some are just lazy. Some are unpredictable and are not on the same form every day. This may affect the experience of riding and directing the horse. A bit like how the experience of driving a car can be different depending on the engineering, when they’re being test-driven and criticised by the presenter man on top gear. The big difference between cars and horses, though, is that the horse is a living creature with a personality. There is no engineering on a horse and your car is just a soulless machine. You may also find that your own feelings match up with that of the horse your on, unlike a car, which is an inanimate thing and cannot have feelings. For example, horses love to go outside and I also prefer the days when we get to ride outdoors. When its ears perk up as we open the stable door and go out I think ‘’me too’’. I particularly enjoy what are called ‘’sensory trails’’. These are tracks and courses where there are different things to ride across so you can hear the sounds made by the hooves across different terrains.

Since you can ‘’feel through’’ things by touching an object with another object, you can also sort of feel each terrain as the horse moves across it. Inside, though, you sometimes get to do something more athletic called ‘’trotting’’ which is also fun. It is when the horse runs very fast along the outer wall of what we call the ‘’arena’’ all the way around it. The powerful motion of the horse forces the rider into a very alert state and they must bounce up and down from their saddle. Each trot though, only lasts a few seconds. If Festina lente is to open up again, I look forward to whatever it is going to be next in riding, and I would recommend it to anyone. It is a great joy to be with horses, riding is fun and there is a good, long list of benefits. And that is the report on horses by an RDAI rider.