Growing up on a dairy farm in a very small town in New York, my most favorite book in the entire world (yes, I have told you this before!) was A Very Young Rider by Jill Krementz. The 2013 International Horseback Adventure brought back all the feelings of a youth, head over heels in love with horses.
Always a little clumsy, always a bit chubby, I loved nothing in the world more than riding horses. Being near horses, caring for them and riding, was a pure and simple joy in my life. All of “my” horses as a child belonged to friends and I was very lucky to have friends and people in my life that allowed me to be part of their own horse’s lives. To help care for them, to photograph them and to ride, ride, ride! This isn’t to say I was very good at it! Ha! But no matter how many times I fell off, got bucked off, stepped on or rammed into trees, there was nothing I loved more than riding horses.
In all my own years of riding horses, I have earned gashes, bruises, broken bones, pulled muscles, torn ligaments and cracks in my heart. I’ve been rolled on, stepped on and flipped over backwards on. I’ve fallen off and been bucked off. I’ve been nervous and I have been scared.
As we sat gathered around the camp fire, exhausted but with still too much adrenalin running through our blood and unable to rest yet, we spoke of the past and the day we had just finished.
Sure, I’ve been bucked off horses. Of course! Has it really been so long ago, though, that I cannot remember when the last time was? Feeling the power under me boil over, the horse rising, landing on stiffened legs hard enough to jar every bone in my body and lifting again as I struggle to stay deep with my legs loose but firmly forward as I fight to reclaim control over an animal more than ten times my size, weight and strength.
(Sigh.) Well. It must have been some time because I had forgotten, just how much it hurts to hit the ground. (Either that or I really am getting too old for this kind of shit!) Moose, supposedly broke to ride and safe for even the most inexperienced rider, standing 16.2 hands (that is really-really big!) reminded me of another forgotten lesson: Gravity is a bitch.
Tomorrow (and the day after) is going to suck (as we say) when the rider’s high recedes and all of my abused parts and pieces cool and tighten up. I can honestly say now (before the whining begins) that I feel utterly and completely blessed and lucky. Lucky to be part of a world that horses are a part of every day and riding them is part of my job.
No one was badly hurt today. (Definition of Badly Hurt: spurting blood, exposed bone or dead.) No thanks to the stereotypical (and disreputable!) “horse-traders”. No bones were broken today and though obviously not trained and mostly still unbroken, the horses have no evil or meanness in them.
You can read more about The 2013 International Horseback Adventure here and there is LOTS more to come! (The following list is in chronological order!)
- The International Horseback Adventure
- The International Horseback Adventure, Part 1
- The International Horseback Adventure, Home At Last