horse d’oeuvres

It started with a coupon – buy one lesson, get two free.  Studley jumped on the offer to take a few horseback riding lessons in November, 2011.  It was something we had discussed, and put on the “one of these days” list.  With the winter chill looming, and a good bargain, we went to the stable for the first time.

We had no idea where it would lead.  It has brought tremendous joy.

If someone had told me that i’d learn to assemble gear on a horse?  That i’d be comfortable grooming a 1,200 pound animal on my own?  That i’d have no hesitation in grabbing a horse by the ankle and confidently picking manure out of his hooves?

That i’d be riding in my first horse show at the age of 50?


But last weekend, that is just what happened!  It was a “Fun Show” held by our stable, to raise money for Saddlebred Rescue.*  Not a competitive event, it is used by the instructor to help the newer riders train for more serious competition.

Last year, Studley and i had been riding for a few short months – so we just sponsored a few classes and went to watch.  Sitting in the arena on a chilly spring morning, we watched the youngsters, and some older riders, get their horse game on…

daisyfae:  Do you think we’ll ever be able to ride like that?

Studley:  Probably not, but it’s fun to think about!

This year?  We decided to take a run at it. Well, a “walk-trot” at it.

The kids would have their parents, and grandparents, in the barn… Encouraging.  Cheering.  Proudly saying “That’s my kid!”

Receiving a random signal from the trailer park planet, i hatched a plot to get MY mommy there, too!  With serious support from Studley, she was in the arena with us that Sunday morning.

She encouraged.  She cheered.  Her advice to me as i headed out to mount up – “I’ll be proud of you if you just stay on the horse!”  When my name was called for a second place ribbon?  She hooted and hollered and said “That’s my kid!”

Studley and i also rode in a pairs event — similar to the “Pas de Deux” in Dressage, our instructor modified it to make it more accessible to novice riders.  Instead of the team riding side-by-side while riding a pattern, we rode “mirror” patterns – with the goal of staying synchronized and not running into each other when crossing paths!  We referred to it as the “Faux Pas de Deux” event.

We got second in that event… out of two teams!

That night, we decided to figure out what those ribbons cost.  A year and a half of weekly lessons, riding gear (helmets, boots), entry fees…  Right around $1,300 EACH.  And worth every penny…

Roller Derby, Hard Hat, Pith Helmet, Paintball Mask, Ski Helmet, Motorcycle Helmet, Horseback Riding Helmet, Bicycle Helmet, plus assorted shooting gear

The Helmet Shelf in my garage

* WARNING – adorable animal alert!  You might end up with a four-legged friend in your guest house if you look at these lovelies…

** We had to ride with the adults – it wasn’t proper to let us ride in the “Youth” class.  Probably because those 12 year olds would have kicked our asses!  i placed 2nd out of three riders!  And Studley just missed knocking me out of second place by a few thousandths of a point!

40 thoughts on “horse d’oeuvres

  1. LOL! Second out of two teams, eh?? Good job!
    And you beat out Studley! I’m impressed! No, I mean, really!
    To think I was afraid you’d fall off and hurt yourself. So glad it was worth every penny you spent!

    • i DID fall off, in January! We wear helmets – and that’s a good thing! Bruised my butt and my ego, but no serious damage! It’s been fun! Studley is the only adult male taking lessons… and i don’t think there are too many young men there, either. He’ll pretty much do anything!

    • It was a lot of work to bring mom to town for the weekend, and get her inside the arena for our events. It was pretty chilly for an April day…. but she was a trooper! We even managed to get her to an annual League of Amazing Women spring luncheon the day before…. It was a good weekend, even if exhausting for us all!

  2. I loved horseback riding when I got to do it. Almost makes me wish I’d married that rancher. Almost. Last time I did it, ten years ago, it killed my knees. I’m glad you can at your age.

    • Glad i get to do it… When we started, we had no idea it would “take”. Of all the crazy stuff we do, this is one of my favorites. Glad i didn’t have to marry a rancher to be able to make it happen! Happy to rent the horsies…

    • ba-dum-DUM! There are photos out there somewhere… should have thought to dig those out – although i have no doubt you would do a stellar job! Photographing horses running around in an arena is perhaps just as challenging as actors mincing about on a stage!

  3. Yet another inspiring post from your delectable self. I will admit to visualising you wearing high heels and a wide smile while bareback riding however. Perhaps you could give me some further pointers?

    • Thank you, good sir! At the end of my weekly lesson, my face hurts – from smiling! But i’ve yet to find suitable heels for wear in the stable… nothing particularly sexy about manure-encrusted stilletos! Oh, wait… you weren’t talking about horses!

    • i am lucky to have such an enthusiastic playmate! We are well matched for these things – being (at best) marginally competent at most things we do. We share backgrounds in ‘risk management’, so take reasonable precautions together as we do these things. Next? Haven’t thought about it much – but i’ll be doing my ‘fighter pilot for a day’ adventure in a couple months…. so there’s that! 🙂

  4. Thank you for not calling it a bucket list. That’s played out.

    You have the most eclectic tastes of pretty much anyone I know. You won the Game of Life. Congrats!

    • “bucket list” is far too organized for my “random” approach. farting around doesn’t require lists. there are things we talk about wanting to do that have a very high energy level and passion… horseback riding wasn’t one of those, but it seemed like fun. we were surprised at how deeply it ‘took’.

      there are no winners, my dear. i’m enjoying the ride… “Ladies and Gentlemen take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice”.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Nota Bene! Yes, it’s a pith helmet… that one has only been used for a few costuming opportunities, but it is real. A safari could happen in the relatively near future – so it’s good to be prepared. The only kind of ‘big game shooting’ i’ll do is with a camera, however!

  5. I miss riding and being in the stables.
    It was part of my ‘therapy’ when I was in my late teens/early 20’s.
    Getting paid to do it was just a bonus! 😉

    Currently i’m looking into bagpipe lessons.
    Can’t play an instrument to save my soul, but I am determined! lol

    Pull down your pants and slide on the ice …. bwahahahaha 😀

    • it is therapeutic. i love knocking mud off a horse! it is the PERFECT therapy on a monday evening. especially for OCD-me! i’ve thought about volunteering at a stable when i retire. groom old horsies. it would be a lovely way to spend a few hours a day…

      if you get going with those bagpipes? WE WANT VIDEO!!! HOLY SHIT, THAT IS AWESOME!

  6. If it’s brought you happiness and fulfillment, then it’s worth it. I love that helmet shelf, and the Rosie the Riveter picture above it. Also, I would like each of those horses at the Saddlebred Rescue site.

    • very worth it… we are reminded sometimes that it’s nice to have discretionary income. both of us have launched the spawn out of the nest, and are lucky enough to have cash to throw at these things. for now.

      the helmet shelf is my shrine. didn’t start out that way, but i needed a place for the bike, motorcycle and horseback helmet, so it just sort of happened…

      i have been looking at those horses for a few days. i couldn’t choose. Wiggles is probably my favorite, but i would want to take them all home. my garage is small, and i don’t have a pasture. do you think they would adapt to living in my basement?

    • She had a good weekend! We spoiled her, my animals cuddled her, and she enjoyed early bedtimes for a change… although we wore her out a bit with the activities, she enjoyed it! Like the idea of a glove rack – i have riding gloves (biking, horses, motorcycle) and skiing gloves. Would be a good place to keep them sorted!

  7. Oh my god, you’ll be on the barrel racing circuit in no time at all. And then you’ll perfect your Rodeo Queen wave. I love growing up and doing things I haven’t done before. We actually are boogie boarding in our new life.

    • Don’t think barrel racing is in my future – we ride “English”, with only some play dates riding Western (although i really enjoyed my cattle wranglin’ moments at the guest ranch in arizona). Have fun with the boogie boarding! i have had limited luck with that – and not just because i don’t live near surf. Seems a coordination problem for me! But you should practice, practice, practice! And enjoy that sunshine!

  8. A helmet shelf in your garage eh? Makes me feel all inadequate and deprived that I don’t have such a thing, and I don’t even have one helmet… come to think of it I don’t even have a garage. Huh… Got a good woolly hat collection though, and about a hundred balls (golf, for the playing of). Have never been on a horse either (seaside donkey once, and was scared, aged about 6).

    • No need to feel inadequate! i’m rotten with a camera, and you seem to have an exceptional eye for it! And i have no balls… Well… for sport, that is… We all have our gigs… 🙂

  9. You might be my new idol. I love your spirit and willingness to try new things. I recently got more into horses than I have in a long time, and that’s because my BFF owns several, and she takes me riding once in a while. That, and my Uncle Mead and Aunt Sue are for-real ranchers, cowboys/girls, and competitive rodeo veterans. Plus it’s just cool to have that much power between your legs. I mean, I’m just sayin’.

    • i DO like all that power… there’s a reason girls all over the world have a love affair with horses! you should keep riding – it’s liberating! feeling like you could run away and never come back. i like trail and field rides… in my brain? i’m off to explore the wild west, or tracking new territory, or chasing cows or some such thing….

    • i think that would be loverly! no current travel plans to new england, but later in the year i might need a few more segments to keep my preferred flyer account up and running! 🙂

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