I’ve taken several breaks from riding over the years. I rode as a kid, through high school, then a little in college. Then I transferred to a school without an equine program. With every penny going towards tuition and books, I had to give it up until after graduation. I got back into riding a few times for short stints, but always had to stop for financial reasons. Then Lauren was born, and I really didn’t think about it very much except for a few months when I volunteered at a local equine rescue.
Then I had that moment when I realized that I had to start riding again.
For my birthday, my husband, Joe, planned a wonderful weekend in the next county. We visited a few vineyards, had a great gourmet dinner and spent the night in a small, private cabin in the woods—but it all started with a trail ride. He does not ride, but is pretty adventurous and not nervous around horses. He found this great outfit that is family-owned and takes small groups around their vast acreage that has been in their family since the Civil War days. Not only was the weather perfect, but my horse was easy to ride, and they even had an English saddle for me, though I am not particular. When the trail guide paired me with a horse, I confessed that I had riding experience, but that I was beyond rusty. So imagine my bliss when the owners paired me with a dark bay gelding and watched us get acquainted in the ring before our ride, “Oh, yes, you ARE a rider!” Did Joe pay arrange for the ego boost in advance?
In the midst of two lovely hours through picturesque fields, woods and babbling brooks, I thought, “Wow--I miss this so much--why am I NOT doing this?” And, I resolved to find a barn the next week.
No related to the point of this story, but very amusing was the other party riding with us that day. I’m fascinated to see how parents who are not horsey people manage their children’s horsey obsessions. On this occasion, it was a family of three: A horse-crazy, starry-eyed girl accompanied by a dutiful father who didn’t seem to notice he was even on a horse and a terrified mother who screamed, yes--screamed, every time her horse stepped over a log or walked down the slightest slope (slightest—as in not enough angle to have to lean back). Our guide very patiently tried to explain to her all of the reasons why screaming while on horseback was bad—and eventually gave up. I tried to pretend I was hearing some rare predatory hawk following us on our ride, but it was difficult since Joe was also trying, not very successfully, to stifle a laugh.
What was your “aha!” moment?