personal, Wellbeing
Comments 43

Literally ‘getting back on the horse’

I will always love horse riding

Never too old to try again #horse #riding #love #over50 @boneAndsilver

I was one of those youngsters who loved horses, were you? Pretty privileged I know. I got obsessed at about 11 or 12, and luckily for me, Mum and Dad decided to assuage their parental divorce guilt by buying me a cheap old fat stubborn Exmoor pony called Christie.

I had to babysit every weekend, and cycle a paper route before school to help pay for the feed and paddock costs; those animals can sure eat a lot of hay.

After a couple of years trying out Pony Club, going hunting, and galloping over farmers’ fields without permission, I progressed to a Palomino called Holly, who was handsome, but with a crap personality. We tried cross country jumping, basic dressage/showing, plus lots of trail rides, and I fell off dramatically twice, getting concussion and then a fractured jaw.

Me as a teenager cross country jumping

Me & Holly in 1983 #teenager #horse #love #crosscountry @boneAndsilver

My Dad was not impressed.

Still, Holly had the desired effect of keeping me away from boys… until I got to 17, passed my driving test, and suddenly discovered the freedom of nightclubs and dancing till 3am.

Who wants to get up and deal with a mean horse at 6am before school? Not me any more.

So off Holly went in a float, and I remember the feeling of relief and excitement at my new-found lack of responsibility…

Except I missed the riding.

Nothing like horse back riding for pleasure

#horseback #leisure #trailriding #australia

I missed the clip clop of hooves along country lanes, or the rhythmic thud of them galloping across peaty moors. That delicious scent of horse sweat, with the creak and smell of saddle leather; warm soft breath on my neck as I picked out hooves, or the satisfaction of throwing on a warm rug for a cold evening.

For years, I sought out horses to ride, belonging to a friend, or country neighbour; for an idyllic 3 months I even talked my way into a job caring for and learning to ride 6 Spanish stallions… considering that their basic instinct is to kill each other for territory, it was a miracle none of us stablehands were injured! I was actually a bit relieved when the funding ran out and the job vanished.

Then the pressures of motherhood finally arrived, with a new-found fragility and sense of caution; but fast-forward nearly 2 decades, and look what I did last week.

How happy do I look?

One hour in the saddle brought me so much delight, and completely rejuvenated my horse love. I’ve spent hours since then watching YouTube tutorial videos (none of which we had in the ‘olde days of yore’), and am feeling a little obsessed.

Not to mention stiff.

Like, seriously stiff.

For another 4 days.

[Hello inner thighs, welcome back, I really need you.]

Now guess what I’m doing? Day dreaming about lessons, the possible ‘trial lease’ of a horse, and perhaps even horse ownership again one day…

Am I crazy??

Maybe.

Just as my nest empties, with son ‘18.5’ moving out into the world in his new car, with his 3 part time jobs, and talks of his surf trips round Australia, I consider tying myself down to a four-legged responsibility which basically eats money…

But my teenage self is absolutely delighted, so I’m just following her for now.

What childhood hobby do you miss the most, or have you thought about taking up again?

In gratitude for the magnificence of a horse, G xO

43 Comments

  1. I didn’t really have any childhood hobbies like this. I do miss the freedom to just play all the time and be crazy and imaginative without being looked at funny lol

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  2. I completely understand! I had a horse from age 8 to 23 and then a career and three babies and baby weight stopped me riding. 15 years later and I took my dog to dog training at a local riding stables. I realised how much I missed them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lol – no, sorry, I don’t share your love of /riding/. I spent all of 10 minutes on horseback, once, and Jim [that was the horse’s name] ignored me completely. Plus it was a terrifyingly long way to the ground, even when he was standing perfectly still.
    I do love the look of horses though, and in my youth, I’d spend hours sketching fantasmagorical horses rearing and generally looking awesome…
    If there is one thing that I do feel a great nostalgia for, it’s motorbikes. I’ve owned two in my life, and a part of me will always love them. Ah well.
    So glad you are following your passion. Go girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks love- yes, they can be a bit scary, I agree… but so are motorbikes in a way. I dare you to find somewhere nearby that will take you for a bike ride, preferably a noisy Harley! 😉

      Like

      • No way! Ducati or nothing. 😉 Seriously, my bike riding days are over, well and truly, but I do enjoy watching them zoom past my car. Silly buggers. Saw a young guy driving home this evening. He was wearing the standard tradie uniform of ankle boots, shorts & t-shirt, and I shuddered to think how much skin he’d leave on the road if he came off. -sigh- There speaks a mother, right?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lol: I tossed up whether to write Harley or Ducati 😈
          I so wish those young folk would wear more clothes on their bikes… ☹️

          Like

          • Yeah, it’s scary. I was ‘trained’ by serious bikers who all wore full leathers every time they rode, rain or shine. I still have my old leathers [nostalgia] and despite being a very careful rider, one elbow has a deep graze ion it. This is thick leather, not fashionable leather. I hate to think what I’d be like if I hadn’t been wearing it when I came off.
            Sadly these gorgeous young people are convinced they’re invincible. I wish a visit to Royal Talbot Rehab. Centre were a compulsory part of getting their Learners.
            <>

            Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the very few things I liked about summer camp as a tween/young teen was horseback riding; that, and archery. Maybe I was meant to be a jouster. Instead, I became a jester…but I digress.

    After dogs, horses are easily my favorite animals: majestic, proud, beautiful.

    So I am glad you are, as they say, back in the saddle again. Someday soon I will do the same. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Horses are so beautiful to me, even better than dogs [confession: I’m more of a cat person].
      And I can definitely recommend finding a good stables and doing a short trail ride- one hour was long enough to start. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. wow, look at that photo of you jumping in the bush. so cool. nice memories. I’ve only been in the saddle a few times. It was memorable though. the fractured jaw sounds a bit uncomfortable.

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  6. I love this post. It brings us along for the ride (pun intended) and I almost catch your horse love – yes I have never been a horsey girl, although I quite like them as animals. You look at home on a horse and I can sense your delight though the words. I am so happy for you, as well as noting all the changes in your life! ’18’ moving out?!! There must be a post coming about that? Hugs G x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Eve 😊
      Hopefully there will be more pics to follow: trying to make time for a proper lesson next week (nervous!)
      ‘18’ is kinda floating between his Dad’s place & mine at the moment; working hard & trying to save money; hope he doesn’t actually properly ‘move out’ quite yet 🙏🏼❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So great, Gabrielle!! I love your story about Christie and Holly. And, how could any girl in her right mind NOT want to ride horses? I used to want to be a jockey and ride in the Kentucky Derby. And I had all the Black Stallion books (if you’ve heard of them?).

    Anyway, I’m so glad that you got to ride again. That must’ve been amazing, albeit the stiffness.

    Sending you such blessings Gabrielle—great post.
    Debbie

    ps – it’s my birthday today! I love birthdays, and what better way to spend some of it than by checking posts like yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy Birthday from Down Under!! I hope you had a fab day 🙂

      A jockey huh? Wow, that sounds hard; I’d rather be a dressage rider myself. Horses are such amazing creatures though, however we interact with them.

      I hope you treated yourself for your special day, love G xO

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I didn’t have a horse when I was young but have owned a beautiful, stubborn, black Canadian mare for 20 years. She is my sanity. Even when I don’t ride, just grooming and spending quiet time grooming her or doing groundwork is as good for my mental health as meditation. If you can find a way to ride or be with a horse – do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, she sounds great! Yes, I am totally seeking that sense of connection & grounding with such a magnificent creature 🙏🏼
      Thank you so much for commenting with your inspiring experience 😊 G

      Like

  9. I love the description of your experience and the joy of getting back to something you loved as a teenager. I have a dear friend who had a very similar experience. Horses were everything to her as a teen; she showed them and competed in dressage. Then she grew up and had to focus on other things. In her fifties, she had the space in her life to rediscover this passion, and fortunately for her, the money to buy a horse again. She’s obsessed.

    I love the look of horses and the thought of riding, but I haven’t really had the opportunity. For now, I settle for the freedom of meandering through the meadow with the my dogs until we get out to the river for a swim. I love their joy, their jaunty trot on the dusty path, tails up, headed in the general direction of the river but not in a hurry. The way the Rottie stops to sniff on a patch of grass and then pees on it. Right after that, our pitbull, or The Princess as we often call her, follows him and pees on top of his pee. Why? Because she is important and everyone needs to know she was there, of course.

    After their swim, they shake themselves off and continue the walk. By the time we get back to the car, they smell of river and dirt and possibly a dead snake they may have found before I could tell them to “leave it.” Their ears are back, their mouths are open in a relaxed smile. I am happy, again, about the possibility of shared happiness across species; what a sweet thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for giving me one of my favorite comments ever! 🙏🏼

      I can see your dogs, trotting & smiling, bless them.

      I’m having my 2nd riding lesson next week; I’m nervous & excited- it IS coming back to me slowly, but is expensive yes, and my body is definitely finding it a bit of a challenge…

      Have a wonderful weekend, & enjoy that meadow meandering x G

      Liked by 1 person

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