Sunday, November 29, 2009

Never give up! Never give up! Never, never, never

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you would throw enormous amounts of time and money into achieving your goal, even though it is something you are likely never going to accomplish? I had an awesome ride yesterday. The resident trainer at my barn had a clinic and a bunch of us spent Saturday grooming our horses, riding in the clinic, and visiting with one another. I always feel exhilarated after one of these riding sessions. Largely because I learn so much and somewhat because I SURVIVED.

I have only recently gotten back into lessons. As some of you know I was injured pretty badly a few years ago. I needed two surgeries and had a drastic loss of confidence. I have found that I have developed some bad habits while out riding on my own. Those bad habits felt comfortable to me and they still do. It's sitting correctly that feels uncomfortable...but I cannot deny that when I make the adjustments the trainers ask me to make my horse seems much more forward and willing. The trouble is, at my age, weight, and physical condition I am having a hard time maintaining those adjustments. A lot of times the entire ride is more about getting my body to do what I ask it to rather than getting Boo to do what I ask him to.

I struggle with feeling stiff . Sometimes I work out of that and sometimes I don't. I have a tiny bit of arthritis in my neck, hands, and feet. My right side feels shorter than my left. I get tight in my shoulders and lower back. I have short legs and a lot of trouble holding on to my stirrups...or it can be the opposite and my feet slide to far into my stirrups. Of course my toes are pointed down way more often than I realized. Often times after a ride I will have sore shoulders and neck and even a headache. Blogger friends...I freakin creak and pop!!!! This is not even taking into account the fear issues. All of this can add up to some pretty discouraging rides.

So what am I going to do about it? Well, I'm dang sure NOT going to quit. I have accepted that I will never be the rider that I have dreamed of being, but I am still going to work towards being the best rider that I CAN BE. That will only come with time and dedication. I'll need to lose some weight (probably the hardest part for me) and get more exercise to strengthen and increase my flexibility. Will I ever get those hips open...I don't's been a lot of years with them tighter than a drum, but I am going to give it all I've got. I'll need to ride more often and continue to take lessons and clinic. I am setting a goal for myself to spend this next year doing what I can to improve my riding skills. We never know how much time we have left with our horses. I intend to make the most of mine. I came to riding late in life and discovered I have a passion for it. I am basically a "fraidy cat" and still through all of this past 8 years I've persevered. I may not be the youngest woman out there trying to perfect her skills, but I know I'm not the oldest either, and I have a lot of respect for all of us "vintage" riders out there trying to meet the physical challenges thrown at us by bodies that are aging. Who knew it would take me almost 57 years to find out I can be as brave as I need to be.


  1. I enjoyed our little clinic. Always a good time hanging out with members of the Barn Bunch, and got some good instruction on top of it, too.
    One of the things I love about our chosen sport is that all riders share the same challenges, regardless of our age or athletic ability. No matter where you are on the riding scale, there is someone who is struggling with issues that you have already solved, and others who have accomplished skills that you are working to achieve. Over my years with horses I've found most riders are supportive and encouraging. Good folks.
    As evidenced by our Saturday morning gang.

  2. I just love this post as I feel exactly the same way....I need to lose quite a few lbs to even start becoming a better rider and the fear issues...don't even know where to begin with that but the more time I put in the saddle the easier it becomes. Plus for me having a young horse I am always on my toes. Good luck to you! Sounds like you have a great support group!

  3. Char,
    I went through alot of that after my accident a few years back. I still ride unrelaxed, it's something I have to WORK at everytime I ride.

    You'll be great, just yourself credit for what you DO and not what you don't.

  4. Good for you! Keep going, girl. I was so soft and sore when I got back on a horse a year and a half ago, I could hardly believe it. But our bodies are odd things, and pretty soon muscle memory begins to take hold.

  5. I enjoyed reading this--especially the part about sitting correctly feels uncomfortable and sitting incorrectly feels comfortable--that's me!