Friday, May 29, 2009

What I've been up to--new horseback lessons

Just in case you all out there in readerland ever say to yourselves, "I wonder what Lydia McGrew is up to in her personal life lately," the latest fun thing is horseback riding lessons. It's still not absolutely clear that I'm going to be able to keep them up, but it's a case of so far so good. I have some minor back trouble that might have flared up and prevented it, but last week I recovered rapidly from the lesson and this week--we shall see. I feel fine just coming home now. Just a little stiff.

I rode a lot of Western trail riding when I was a kid, but there's nothing really "to" Western trail riding. You sit on your horse, and it follows the horse in front of it. If they trot or gallop, you hold the saddle horn. At age 10, I had a few English riding lessons, a very few, until Mom and Dad couldn't afford them anymore (understandably enough). Then it was just going riding with the church youth group now and then, hardly any riding at all, for years and years. And about twelve or thirteen years ago, I foolishly told an acquaintance that I knew how to ride, was given a horse I couldn't handle, and got myself thrown with the horse falling on top. Nobody hurt badly, not even the horse. But not fun. So after that I concentrated on raising children and not getting killed, and I haven't been back on a horse until last week. We're starting English riding from the very beginning.

I'm very fortunate to be having one-on-one lessons with a really good teacher. Last week we used one of the "school horses" from the farm, until she saw that I'm not scared of the horse or likely to freak out. Jake was very calm, but a little hard-mouthed, and with a fast, choppy trot that I could neither sit nor post. So today we had Hailey (sp?), and that was much nicer. Hailey is a tall Appaloosa and a pleasure to look at and ride. She has that long-legged walk straight down from the shoulder to the ground that always somehow reminds me of a lady in high heels. She has a lovely, smooth trot (as smooth as a trot can be, that is) that Barb, her owner and my teacher, calls a "Western" trot. I can sit it or post it, though I was still holding on to keep my balance while posting by the end of the lesson. I expect to be stiffer tomorrow than I was last week. Posting is a workout for a nerdy, sedentary type like me.

My mom called me a couple of days ago. She's nervous about the riding lessons. Ever since "what happened to Christopher Reeve," she says. Thanks, Mom. I told her I'm in far more danger driving to the lessons on a windey road where all the drivers push you if you're two miles below the speed limit than I am up on the horse. And that's the truth.

Hope to be able to keep it up this summer. Should be lots of fun if so.


alaiyo said...

Oh, what fun! I used to ride too many years ago to admit to, and really loved it. I hope you find it a great "new" activity.

william luse said...

I know why you're doing it. It's because of those horse pictures on my blog.

Lydia McGrew said...

My response to the horse pictures on the blog, Bill, and my trying riding lessons are both manifestations of the same feeling about horses. Common cause.

More sore today, as always the next day, but not too bad. Chiefly just punch-drunk sleepy. I think I may have to borrow some half-chaps from the teacher to protect the calves from getting all bruised with the trotting.