Friday, March 16, 2012

It's Time to Ride Again

Prefacing note to readers who ride regularly: Do you have a friend who used to ride? Then please print or forward this blog entry to that person and say, “See? I am not the only one who thinks you should get back in the saddle!”
I’ve been working on a few blog entries recently, but coming up on the one year anniversary of this blog, I decided to revisit my original purpose. At the barn and away from the barn, I encounter women all the time who tell me they used to ride as kids or before they got married or started a family.  All of the stories begin the same way. First, they let out a long, wistful sigh. As they start to tell me their stories, they get a faraway (or is it slightly lovesick?)  look in their eyes as they describe the favorite pony they first jumped, bareback rides through the creek in the summer, times they fell off but didn’t care, that great horse show or when they first haltered the tallest horse in the barn without standing on a bucket. 

I enjoy hearing their memories, but these women all have one thing in common: they all end their mini-life narrative with a similar statement. I could almost mouth the words along with them. It goes something like this:

“Yeah, I wish I could ride again.”

“Yeah, those were the days. If only I could go back.”

“Yeah, it would be fun, but I just don’t have the time now.”

Ok, enough with the excuses. Here’s why:

Life is short.

You are not getting any younger.

You would feel younger if you started riding again….oh, wait, that one got your attention, huh?

So here goes. I’m going to try my hardest to convince you that you should. To help you out, I’ve compiled plenty of arguments to the positive. Please adapt as needed to counter any negativity you encounter from any significant others, family members or total strangers, for that matter.

  • You love Spring—it’s getting warm and you love to be outside. What better time to reinvent yourself than post-parka, snow boots and windshield ice-scraping weather?
  • You know that riding is great exercise. Who doesn’t need more exercise?
  • You can ask horses to do cool stuff which is pretty amazing and maybe the best argument ever because they are so willing. They are big, warm and fuzzy. And cute.
  • You need an excuse to shop, and the tack shop has great deals. Because you need a new helmet and boots. And the clothes are way more fashionable than when we were kids.
  • You will look forward to your riding sessions like a kid looks forward to a favorite holiday. In fact, you will think about it all week. Next time you’re in a boring meeting, you can use the time productively to think about perfecting your sitting trot.
  • You can put new stickers on your car—like the outlines of horses doing an extended trot or barrel racing. Or that bumper sticker that says “Have you hugged a horse today?” How fun is that?
  • You get to tell people about your new (old) hobby. “I’m an equestrian.” To say it just sounds cool.

  • You can hog up the DVR with all of the London Olympics coverage of the equestrian events that will air at 4am. It’s educational! You have to watch the masters so that you can learn.
  • You are old enough to not care what other people think. So relish with amusement, instead of dread, that weird look your family and friends give you when they think you’re crazy for riding again. This may take a little practice.
  • Your diet will improve. Because horses love carrots and apples so much, they inspire you to eat healthier.
  • You like being in your happy place. And the barn is your happy place. It makes you a happier person at home and at work, too. It’s your time when you can block out everything else.
  • But, maybe most of all, because you really love riding and horses. You have denied your inner horseperson long enough while you were putting everyone else’s needs before yours. 

Okay, riding friends, what other arguments can you add in the comments?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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