When I was younger I rode my uncle’s horses in the mountains of Southern California. I was perhaps 10 when I began riding, and though I was a pipsqueak, I wasn’t afraid to climb on the back of a 1,000lb animal and go tearing across the fields at a full gallop. No helmet mind you, it was the 90s.
But now, as a 37 year old who hasn’t ridden in 15 years, I’m discovering that horseback riding is a lot harder than I remember.
For starters, I’m no longer invincible. As in, I actually care if I fall and have varying degrees of faith in my body’s ability to heal if something breaks. Bounce back? Probably not happening. (Unless you count my backside bouncing across the arena if I fall, that might happen.)
Also, while I have extensive experience sitting at a desk doing computer-y things, sitting the trot? Not so much. Posting the trot? I’ve had a few moments of moderate success. But the truth is that I don’t have the leg or core strength needed to maintain proper positioning, much less control a moving horse with my thighs and fingertips. Daily workouts are in progress.
All this is complicated by Teddy, whom we love dearly but who is working on his own issues. From my conversations with his two previous owners, he used to do lower level dressage, jumping and trail riding. But at his last home he spent a year out at pasture. He was rarely ridden, gained 100lbs and caught Lyme disease. So while I’m working on my mental fortitude and physical fitness, he is too. He still has ~70lbs to lose, and, let’s face it – he would rather be out on a field eating grass. He doesn’t want to work and I don’t blame him, vacations are awesome.
I feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done, and learned, and monitored. Yesterday morning at the barn I admitted to two of the ladies that I was frustrated and then BAM, out came the tears. I never do things like that. I’m sure they were completely surprised, but they played it off. I have to try and not be too awkward about it next time I see them. 🙂
I love horseback riding, but am realizing this is going to take some grit. Like, dig deep, suck it up, and every other saying of that ilk. But I think if the 3 of us can manage it – myself, my son and our horse – we’ll all emerge as better versions of ourselves.
So, here’s to failing and coming back for more. Eventually we’ll get things right.