The smell of horse manure filled my nostrils and flowed through my mouth, blanketed my tongue and gathered in my lungs. I exhaled and drew in another welcomed breath. I closed my eyes and smiled with delight and anticipation. Tears filled my eyes as I walked toward Frank.
“Honey, this is an amazing surprise. I would have never thought in a million years I would be getting horseback riding lessons for my birthday,” I said
Frank shrugged his shoulders like it was no big deal. It is a life-size deal to me. I had commented, some while ago, that I’d like to learn how to ride a horse as one of my ‘bucket list’ items. Sometime in March 2015, I can scratch it from my wants.
I had only once, in my 20s, ridden a horse. That many years ago, the getting on part was the trickiest for me because I had to stand on a fence and kind of jump onto the large animal’s back. The group leader stuck my feet into the stirrups but they never stayed there. Once the horse started walking, I gripped the horn and worked feverishly to keep my running-shoe-clad feet in the slippery foot holds. On the flat open terrain the large beast bolted to a destination it only seemed to know. The thing followed the other horses in no particular order after the other riders trotted their steeds in various directions. When does this become fun? The posse sometimes rode in single file or scattered in all directions through the groves of trees and when going up hill. I was forced to nearly lie down on the horse’s rump during a steep descent, and pull my feet up onto the saddle in a yoga position when we splashed through a river. Rushing across an open field was the most uncomfortable. I had no control whatsoever of the mare. The adventure finally came to an end after the mount and I bolted across the yard. The horse’s destination was the barn likely to get something to eat. My butt was sore and I needed help to dismount. It wasn’t elegant.
So, now I’m going to get proper lessons. At an up coming ladies’ equestrian event, we’re going to be using English saddles (they don’t have a horn to grab onto), wear a helmet (never wore one as a kid on my bicycle) and I’m wearing the cowboy boots I bought on my last year’s trip to Montana. Just to be safe, I think I’ll sport a pair of Depends because they would provide soft cushioning for my derriere. Yahoo!
|Step used to mount steed|
|One version of an English saddle|
|Some call this a good luck symbol|