Sunday, August 9, 2009

Horseback Riding

His name is Echo

Grooming Echo

Riding Echo

I was seventeen, hanging out with three guys and another girl. Someone had the bright idea to go horseback riding. My friend Joyce and I had never ridden, but how hard could it be? You sit on the horse, it moves, you ride.


Shortly into the ride, my friends saw me slowly falling down the side of the horse - my foot caught in a stirrup, hanging on to the saddle for dear life.

Before the “incident,” my horse moved when and how it wanted to, and it stopped when it wanted to, which turned out to be a problem when one of the testosterone-filled teen-aged boys came galloping towards me acting out a "rescue." My lackadaisical horse didn’t flinch; it just stood there. He yelled whoa! to slow his horse down, but there was still a crash. My friends were concerned (all of three seconds) until I pulled myself back up, when “their” hysterical laughing began.

Oh, to be young.

Episode # 2, a year later, found me screaming like a banshee on a runaway horse. Hanging on for dear life again, it occurred to me to stop screaming as an attempt to make the horse stop. It did, and I got off.

I’ll skip my third, uneventful horseback ride (guided by its owner) that was about three years ago, to bring you up to the present.

Three Amigos! That’s what comes to mind when I think of my first horseback riding lesson with Darlene and Robin - three moms out for some adventure. I had to call on Jesus, as Betsy (our teacher) pushed my butt up onto the HUGE horse. What a sight we were! Three stiff bodies with bad posture, bouncing and riding at the mercy of the well-trained horses just walking around the ring.

BUT still on that first day, we progressed. Betsy tried teaching us to post. Up, down, up, down… Breathe… Push your heals down… Point your toes up… Straighten your back... Stomachs in... Hold the reins closer together... Use your crop... And, try to be in the “up” motion with the horse’s outside shoulder as it goes up.

WHAT? Duh.

That was September.

We’ve come a long way. Our aches and pains are minimal. No more bruised inner thighs, knee pain, aching backs, and/or sore calves. We’re saddling our horses and putting on bridles. We're riding the Western saddle and the English (Hunter) saddle. Robin doesn’t feel like she’s going to bounce off any more and is posting the trot. Darlene and I have been able to attend more lessons, and we’re loping and cantering. Darlene could be jumping soon; I’d like to get there, too.

We may be close to earning our bonafide Equestrian titles! Yee Ha!

Do you ride horses? Would you like to?


Hilary said...

When I was 13, I spent two weeks one summer at Rock Creek Park in the DC metro area learning to ride and care for a horse. It was hotter than hot, a lot of hard work, but my retired polo pony, Callie, was gorgeous and exhilarating to ride. I'd love to get back in the saddle but until my free time materializes, I'm going to live vicariously through you!

Judy Thomas said...

Hey is that you on a butterfly chair at Ginter?

Anita said...

HILARY, sounds like your memories of gorgeous Callie, fun riding, the heat, and hard work are still fresh. It won't be long before Mo and Co asks to ride. Maybe they already have.

Anita said...

JUDY, that is indeed me at Ginter. Hope to get back soon.