Just had to share

fourlegs

Horse addict
My confidence has taken a bit of a battering over the last 3 years - first because of the heart attack which meant although I could ride, my stamina was severely reduced to the point that even 5 minutes of rising trot left me breathless. This improved over a year or so but there was no way I felt like cantering.

Then just over a year ago I had a fall from Scully when she double bucked in trot which put me in hospital for a few days and a few weeks out of the saddle. Even trot had me worried but slowly with the tremendous support of the owners and staff of Il Paretaio not only was I able to cope with trot on steady Ivoire but I progressed onto different, more forward horses, culminating a couple of months ago with riding Zara, a pretty forward horse.

The first ride I had on her started by scaring me as she shot off in a powerful fast walk but with guidance I learnt to soften her and control her speed - both walk and trot seemed effortless for her and comfortable for me. On my latest visit she gave me so much confidence that I actually wanted to canter - not her but my dear old Ivoire who I last cantered the day before my heart attack!

So it was that my last ride before coming home this week was on Ivoire and we worked on his energy so that when I asked for the canter we only had one false start. The canters were only for a few paces, maybe a long side's worth, but we cantered a few times on each rein. The feeling was great, I felt secure in the saddle and it left me determined to repeat the experience on my next visit in July and to get him cantering complete circuits of the school.

Confidence is fragile and I am sure that I owe a great deal to Cristina at Il Paretaio for restoring mine. I can't recommend the place highly enough for anyone who has confidence issues or who just wants a fabulous holiday in Tuscany with beautiful horses and skillful trainers, not to mention the Chianti and the food!

And for the photo junkies on here - a photo of me cantering Ivoire a few years ago - I'll have to get some new ones!

98791
 

Huggy

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Nov 11, 2018
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What a lovely comeback story! And fab pics too. Hope you continue to enjoy it all :)
 

Feawen

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Jan 12, 2012
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Great to hear a story of confidence returning, and one with lovely photos too :)

Do you ride when you’re in the UK as well, fourlegs, or save it for Tuscany? I’m just thinking about riding fitness - I guess because I’m not riding regularly myself at the moment and wondering what impact it will have.
 

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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Where is this place? I want to go!

My confidence has taken a severe battering as well recently and I am struggling to get it back. It doesn't help that all I can do is walk on Ben and I long to do some proper riding again.
 

fourlegs

Horse addict
Do you ride when you’re in the UK as well, fourlegs, or save it for Tuscany? I’m just thinking about riding fitness - I guess because I’m not riding regularly myself at the moment and wondering what impact it will have.
No, I don't ride in the UK now - the only horse I could "borrow" has developed bad arthritis and is only walked in hand now. The local school is not very good :confused: so I save it for Tuscany - to be honest, I doubt I could find better instruction here locally!

The fitness isn't an issue for me, I am out there once every few weeks and I ride twice or three times a day - my legs might twinge a little after the first day but they soon recover.

I walk the dog every day for a few km but otherwise I don't exercise ;)
 

fourlegs

Horse addict
Where is this place? I want to go!

My confidence has taken a severe battering as well recently and I am struggling to get it back. It doesn't help that all I can do is walk on Ben and I long to do some proper riding again.
Il Paretaio - near Barberino val d'elsa - south of Florence. The flights from Stansted to Pisa are a couple of hours and cheap out of the main holiday season.

Such a special place - a couple of videos -



Here is the link to their website - https://www.ilparetaio.it/en/
their facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/IlParetaio/
and tripadvisor - https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g616195-d607206-Reviews-Il_Paretaio-Barberino_Val_d_Elsa_Tuscany.html

If you are serious then PM me and I can give you more information. If I can get a group of 6 riders together I can also negotiate good discounts :cool:
 
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Feawen

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Jan 12, 2012
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to be honest, I doubt I could find better instruction here locally
Absolutely - I love the sound of the trainers and horses you have available to you!

Going off to watch the videos you posted for Mary Poppins :)
 

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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It looks absolutely amazing! I bet you can ride for miles and miles without seeing another person.

I would love to go, just not sure when. With 2 kids and horse to look after I can’t see how it would happen. Although saying that, my 9 year old is on a 2 night residential trip in October.... I will give it some thought.
 

fourlegs

Horse addict
I only went for a couple of days the first time - but, like horse riding, it is addictive! Many of the guests are regulars, some come several times a year, like me, others come once or twice a year in the same weeks. There is a great family atmosphere and nobody is left out. They really go out of their way to meet everyone's needs / wants, vegetarians & vegans are catered for and the wine jugs never run dry at dinner!