Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Man vs...Robotic Horse

Yestereve after work I rolled up at Wildwoods Riding Centre in Tadworth, Surrey, I arrived in the hope of finding a coach for the Equestrian Events and left having experienced something that I'd never have dreamed of...and I have some pretty unusual dreams...

If Paco Robanne made a fragrance for Wildwoods then its scent would be best described as 'Horsey Muck...(I mean) Musk' - sure fire winner with the English Aristocracy methinks.

At this stage I'd like to thank Samantha Lowe, yes you may well recognise the name from The Judo Challenge, well Sam being the joy that she is, only went and put me in touch with her pal Trix, who's also lovely and in turn made a few calls and pointed me in the direction of Anthea Chambers at Wildwoods. Thanks also go out to Trix!

Moving on...

Anthea and Office Manager, Jan Dulake, had a good chat with yours truly and we agreed that I'd pay for a block of lessons, during which we'll try and build in my Equestrian Challenges.

Then came the surprise experience...

Anthea led me to a stand-alone unit containing...you guessed it...a robot horse! Here's a pic of the beastie:

Penelope waited patiently for Trojan to get the signal to gallop off into the field...and waited...and waited...
Essentially the student (me) sits on the horse while the instructor (Anthea) gives instructions and operates the horse - you can make it trot, canter and no doubt gallop (they're stuck to the first too options). Meanwhile the screen in front of you signals how your weight is positioned and assessing your balance, and you can see yourself in a large mirror to your side, which helps with understanding your posture and position on the horse.

When Wild Wood first purchased the 'animal' it was one of only 4 such machines in the country. Its lifelike motions, shape and size aid new riders to accelerate their education in riding.

Just to add to the excitement of my first visit, Anthea's bitch Alsatian was being introduced to Henry, a male of the same breed who she's hoping will help bring pups. As I drove off the 2 dogs had legged it into a neighbouring field while the respective owners sheltered from the now pouring rain. I think maybe they'd left for some privacy.

I can't wait to get started on The Equestrian Challenges, Anthea and Jan made me feel so welcome and I'm sure the experience will be a keeper.

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