In the Saddle with Anita Marsh

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So, the last few months my daughter and I have been riding out together on our horses but we have needed a leader on the ground to ensure Alyssia is safe. In the last week we have attempted to 'ride and lead' and it's been so exciting for us.

I have never rode any horse and led another pony from it, let alone my mare and our new pony, but I am lucky that I have an incredibly safe horse on the roads and a bomb-proof pony too. So it made sense after a few months of riding out together that we should try it on our own without a person leading the pony.

At first we got the horses walking side by side together in our paddock at home and got them used to each other. Despite hacking round the village together we always had a helper on foot with Alyssia and her pony, Jasmine and even then they were both in single file.

At first both horses were a little unsure riding so close together. They didn't do anything wrong but they naturally kept falling back into single file so it took a little work as I was trying to instruct my 7 year old as well as sort my own horse out at the same time.

Next we tried a lead rope and hooked it onto Jazz's bit on her bridle and walked together. We had to ride differently as we needed to ride as a team and not individuals - for me personally I had to look after my own horse and then a little pony and my girl too.

Once we had practiced our stops together, by counting down from three out loud we then then moved onto riding like this every time we rode for around a week. We needed to practice turning left and right. With a pony half the size her little legs had to work much harder than my mare's.

Eventually, we did a little trial run on a quiet day around the market place with a leader watching us and to be there on hand if we needed. After that there has been no stopping us. We are loving hacking out together.