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…
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!